The Panopticon

The Panopticon

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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Pa'nop'ti'con ( noun). A circular prison with cells so constructed that the prisoners can be observed at all times. [Greek panoptos 'seen by all'] Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car, headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember the events that led her here, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and there is blood on Anais' school uniform. Smart, funny and fierce, Anais is a counter-culture outlaw, a bohemian philosopher in sailor shorts and a pillbox hat. She is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. The residents of the Panopticon form intense bonds, heightened by their place on the periphery, and Anais finds herself part of an ad hoc family there. Much more suspicious are the social workers, especially Helen, who is about to leave her job for an elephant sanctuary in India but is determined to force Anais to confront the circumstances of her birth before she goes. Looking up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais knows her fate: she is part of an experiment, she always was, it's a given, a liberty a fact. And the experiment is closing in. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, "The Panopticon" introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction.
Publisher: London : William Heinemann, 2012.
ISBN: 9780434021772
0434021776
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 324 p. ;,23 cm.

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From Library Staff

#6 Anaïs is 15 and has been in foster care or children’s homes her whole life. Her drug-taking, anti-social behaviour and suspected serious assault on a police woman has put her in The Panopticon, a home with a sinister watch tower. Smart, funny and messed-up Anais isn’t ready to give in to “the ... Read More »

Joyce's pick: Anais is 15 and has been in foster care or children’s homes her whole life. Her drug-taking, anti-social behaviour and suspected serious assault on a police woman has put her in The Panopticon, a home with a sinister watch tower. Smart, funny and messed-up Anais isn’t ready to give ... Read More »


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r
rjamesevans
Sep 09, 2016

I am amazed that I liked this book so much. At first I was put off by the Scottish brogue, by the foul language and by the very nature of the main character. However, all my objections went away as I became absorbed in and affected by story.

It is a wonderfully written book

u
uncommonreader
Jun 14, 2015

The story of a child, let down by everyone for all of her 15 years, but a survivor. The voice of Anais is authentic. A righteous book.

p
Peregrine
Jul 25, 2014

An exquisitely written, authentically voiced tale of a young woman struggling to find a sense of self when she has never known either parent and has spent much of her life in foster care or juvenile detention. Harrowing and heartbreaking and surprisingly hopeful as this tough, smart and ultimately ethical character navigates a society more focused on locking her up than giving her a leg up.

l
lukasevansherman
May 13, 2014

The panopticon was a type of prison created by English writer/thinker Jeremy Bentham, who described it as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." Later, controversial philosopher Michel Foucault used it as a metaphor for control. This book is not as interesting as these guys and squanders a good premise. Oh, hope you're comfortable with the c-word.

m
miranda57
Jan 29, 2014

Picked this book up randomly off the New Book Shelf. Wow! Like striking gold! Yes, this is a dark tale of a fierce teenage girl who is struggling to find her way out of a dark world of drugs, violence, and the foster home/juvenile court system. Beautifully written!

SLS71 Jan 16, 2014

I love this book. Finished it last night and it's stuck in my head to the point that I don't want to start my new book! Anais is a fantastic heroine. A reviewer on here said she's fierce; she truly is. There are some very harrowing moments/incidents that are difficult to read (which is not a negative), but there is also a lot of grace and humor. I laughed out loud more than once. This girl is a bit twisted, and I wish I knew her in real life.

quagga Sep 28, 2013

A compelling first novel told in the voice of a fierce young Scottish lesbian.

j
JCLRachelSH
Sep 26, 2013

Anais Hendricks is a 15 year old drug fiend who pulls other girls' hair and beats them to within an inch of their lives. She juggles girlfriends and boyfriends and wears a treasured Indian headdress while prancing around in her undies on acid. She's Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Panopticon, kids! When Anais lands herself in a group home for problem teens with a spooky watchtower a strict open-door policy, the novel's dystopic vibe kicks into high gear and we watch as her layers are peeled back and reality dissolves around her. It's Scottish poet Jenni Fagan's first novel, and she makes dirty-mouthed teenagers sound more profound than Homeric bards. With Anais she's created my favorite kind of heroine — a bad girl in a worse place who claws her way out by her own off-kilter code of honor.

i
Iowakid
Jun 25, 2013

I was at first a little reluctant to read this due to inapproprate language. After about 15 pages I realized this was completely necessary to understand the character...then I was hooked and could not put the book down til I could find out what happened!

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