In the North Pacific Ocean there is a private island that has been forgotten by mankind. Living there are men who have committed all manner of crimes against women –rapists, child abusers, wife batterers, drunkards, notorious womanizers and your ordinary male chauvinistic pigs of every shape and flavour.
Deceived by an elaborate ruse, they wake deep within fortress walls where they are tortured, brainwashed, and then trained to physical perfection. When they are finally released to the island’s hills and abandoned streets, they are told one simple rule: adapt, survive long enough and maybe you will be sent back home. As you can guess it is a big ‘maybe’. Let’s face it: if you’re on Monroe’s Island, and you have a Y chromosome, the best you can hope for is a quick, clean death.
The island’s only other inhabitants are a handful of women – a chosen few, recruited under the cover of a helpline for teenage rape victims. After a training period (read: intense brainwashing) they are employed for ten years on the island as trainers, torturers, guards and executioners of men; the prettier of them go from time to time to the mainland as recruiters in order to bring a fresh batch of victims. They know no mercy and no mercy is expected from them. Despite appearances it’s not about justice and it’s not about changing the attitude of male sex offenders. It is about the most primitive, bloody revenge.
It was one original thriller and yet, while reading it, I caught myself thinking several times that only a man would come with such an outlandish and brutal premise, one without almost any intelligence or refinement. No, it is not a book with a feministic slant as claimed by the author. It presents a very skewed, very chauvinistic perception of how women could avenge themselves – according to the author a Guantanamo Bay style concentration camp for male offenders is the best solution. I happen to disagree.
Imagine a remote island where men are being punished by women for their crimes against women. They are tortured, maimed, brainwashed, hunted and humiliated on a daily basis. They have to fight each other for food, shoes and shelter. All of this is called ‘The Cause’ by the perpetrators – the women previously victimized by men, often in a similar way. Sudden deaths among the inmates are the order of the day; they are expected, sometimes even actively encouraged. Such a solution sickens me to say the least of it.
In fact the women presented in the book commit hideous crimes – often as hideous as those their prisoners are being punished for. It is not an accident that one of them, Rhonda, has an old photo of an execution in a Nazi death camp as her computer screen wallpaper. It is not an accident that their headwoman, Gertrude Monroe a.k.a. Dirty Gertie, is a mountain of muscles without an ounce of ordinary human decency or compassion left. They are a bunch of sick, brainwashed, sadistic psychos whose place is in a lunacy asylum. If it is how the author perceives women fighting for equal chances and justice then I truly pity him.
Two wrongs don’t make a right – I can’t imagine any sane, intelligent woman sullying herself with that kind of primitive revenge. By the way I wonder what would the author say about female sex offenders? Pedophiles? Men who rape and/or torture other men? Sadistic psychos who torture and kill animals for pleasure? Greedy bankers and politicians who exploit the weak? Do they deserve their own Monroe’s Islands? Should we turn the whole world into one big prison?
I feel disgusted and disappointed. I expected something more intelligent and twisted and I got a travesty of justice in a form of a novel – Hunger Games for adults in their most primitive form. Yes, I know that women can be every bit as cruel and sadistic as men. No, it doesn’t help to solve anything at all. Perhaps the author is going to straighten out this and that in the next books (it is supposed to be a three-part series) but I don’t think I will be reading them any time soon.