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Book Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

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Coined a “dystopian” by the publishing company to sell mad copies, this is clearly not a dystopian anything and is a tepid attempt for the bestselling McCafferty to venture into the realm of satirical literature – give the gal an A for effort and forgive me as I don’t reach for my poms, aka pom poms, or get all fangirly over this distasteful scrambled mess (thanks to the art department’s cover, I will never look at an egg the same way again).

I can mention McCafferty’s other novels so as not to seem so Joan Rivers -esque on the red carpet, as Rivers gleefully strikes down leading men, femme fatales and wanna-be starlets and studs in what they believe is their best stepping-out and getting-off-the-mountain duds — only to be attacked for wearing something from Caveman Chris’ Outfitters, Dumpster D’s or Ludicrous Laraine’s — but I won’t because this is a review on Bumped.  

In between searching for pencils to jam into my eye sockets, walls to bump my head into and freshly painted walls to stare at, I managed to finish McCafferty’s tasteless mess (a definite plus in the category of earning my wings) so take that Jeff Probst — I so can endure Survivor but don’t want to go without my Philosophy skin care products, Diet Vanilla Pepsi, QVC and my fierce gal, Sheila, model extraordinaire. Oh, toss in the fact that I am spoiled and like to be pampered to the Survivor con column… perhaps Probst and I should “do lunch” to discuss Survivor: Pampered and Spoiled or simply, Survivor: Diva, but I digress, so back to dishwater Bumped.

In McCafferty’s apocryphal universe, a virus has virtually rendered everyone over the age of 18 unable to produce children.  As a result, teen pregnancies are the norm to maintain humanity (visions of MTV’s obnoxious we’ve-run-out of-ideas reality series glorifying teen pregnancy kept creeping up like Charlie Sheen shouting and serenading me with his classic tune “winning.”) Good gravy!

Bumped  sways in alternating chapters from the views of 16-year-old identical twin protagonists, Melody and Harmony, who meet for the first time just as Melody is about to begin fulfilling her profitable contract to “bump” and supply a baby for an affluent couple. Harmony departed from the orthodox dominance she spent serving God  and preparing for marriage and motherhood, to persuade Melody to lean on God instead.

While Melody and Harmony each have their own diverse personalities, I found them as bland as tapioca pudding and severely lacking any dimension. I tried to feel some emotion and muster up a sense of interest with Melody’s scenes with her best friend but it was too much of a stretch and I was easily distracted.

Melody is highly developed and Harmony is as flat as a tortilla and I wonder if McCafferty wanted to write Bumped from Melody’s point of view but decided at the last minute to up the ante by tossing Harmony into the mix for shock value. 
McCafferty either needs to actually do research or reach for an actual Britannica encyclopedia instead of surfing the net or Wikipedia for tidbits, if she is going to write about a character who is steeped in religious values.  Harmony came across as a brainwashed religious fanatic which was McCafferty’s insensitive attempt to grasp for controversy.

Sex-ed is taught in schools to encourage students to have unprotected sex and if you start procreating in middle school, it ups your shot of getting into a top notch university. Young girls wear padding to experience the joy of pregnancy.

Bumped, best described and marketed as science fiction, did manage to bring a guffaw throughout its banal jaunt.  McCafferty scored a point by mentioning that the cafeteria stocks folic-acid enriched foods, which is vital when dealing with pregnancy. Mostly, she tried too hard to be accepted by the tween/teen crowd and came up with her own slang to stand out, which was just McCafferty jibber jabber. I love words and have since I was a kid, so this may be why I went all Linda Blair (from Exorcist) every time I stumbled over them and, like flies on manure, they were everywhere. Now, as a New Yorker, my own regional vernacular swoops in like WWE’s John Cena during a wrestling match – or a starving mosquito at a family gathering — but I know when to reel it in or cover it with a dimpled grin as I charm myself out of the ‘ole slang taking center stage.

Bottom line, McCafferty tried too hard to be something she clearly isn’t and that is a futuristic scribe. Would I recommend this to a teen? No. I don’t believe in censoring books, but highly caution one to reconsider since it discusses sex parties and orgies. I am all for safe sex, handing out condoms and am well aware Bumped is fiction, but I have a responsibility to give the facts, nor do I believe reading this will spike teen pregnancy across the globe. I say, if you are up to torturing yourself, read it with the kids in your world and stir up healthy conversations. I am gonna (see, I do use slang) pass on book two.

Bumped had an interesting premise but McCafferty failed on execution.

As for my personal interjection (no pun intended), I gagged so much reading this discombobulating drivel, I thought I was bumped!     

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About Diane Morasco

  • Leah

    You are too funny and your reviews are really a breath of fresh air. THANK YOU!