The Engine Driver by Tracy Marchini
Published by Squirrel Books, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Brig has never been allowed to hear a sad song in her entire life.
Like everyone else in her community, the personal Playlist Treatment Plan that plays in her head is designed to control her emotions - from when she's happy or sad, to when she falls in love. But for Brig, who suffers from depression, a song in a minor key will never be played.
When her friend, Annaby, is chosen to go to Musician’s School and is given a Permit to Carry a musical instrument, Brig knows that she has just this one chance to hear a sad song, a love song – or a song that matches what her depression feels like, instead of what her feelings should be.
The Engine Driver is a YA dystopian short story of 21 pages. Also includes a sample of Effie At The Wedding.
Why I Read This:
Music and dystopian? Together? Let me see what this is all about.
I read a lot of short stories but I don't usually review them unless they either spark some discussion worthy topic or in the case of this one, blew my mind. I love everything about this story. I wish The Engine Driver was a full novel it was that good, but then I wonder if the story would get too watered down, so this is perfect.
The story is about Brig, a girl who hears music in her head to control her emotions. In this world, everyone hears music in their heads, all to make them better adjusted to the world around them. The only thing is that the music never stops. It's always there. For Brig this is a huge problem because she feels depressed and yet is not allowed to see the emotions of other people who have felt the same. She is not allowed to hear a sad song, or a love song. She sees other people dancing to love songs, singing to them, and she wants to know what it is like, but she is not allowed to.
And then she gets the chance to shut it all down, hear silence in her head for the first time. And it is in one word - brilliant. The withdrawl that Brig goes through is brilliant. The world that had to be set up for this to make any sense was brilliant. It really was like music is a drug for the people in this society.
I read this story and my heart hurt and my stomach got those little butterflies of discovery and I loved everything about it. I want more books like this one. I want more short stories like this one. Beautiful and anything but simple, this story touched me and hit all the right notes.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.