In the futuristic world of “Ghetto,” Sunny Beaumont, the President’s daughter, lives as a First Class citizen, where her ilk dwell in majestic, tall buildings and enjoy social parties. Below them is the Second Class, the white-collared employees – doctors, lawyers, etc. Then, there are the Third Class citizens, who labor and toil, and live hand to mouth.
Not very different from our world then, right? But then there’s the Ghetto, a place entirely for criminals. They’ve got their own community! But what Sunny soon finds out, after a harmless trip to the Ghetto to find a type wheel, is that things aren’t always what they seem. There are children in the Ghetto. Old women. Innocent young teens. What’s going on here?
The story is set somewhere in the 2500s, but you won’t know that till the later part of the novel where dates are actually mentioned. It’s a world of robots and Hover-Cars, where global warming has claimed many places. Cities now build upwards instead of sideways, so everyone lives within the set perimeters.
What I found inconsistent, though, is that well into the future, they still have “laptops”, “Wikipedia,” and “Google”. I doubt those terms would survive half a millennium. Something would’ve changed. I was expecting something newer, and an explanation of how the world further came to be.
Sunny is a self-proclaimed computer geek who can hack into government sites and repair TVs. Her latest project had been trying to repair a type writer. Also, the world still basically feels like this present one, just with some mentions of new technology. Not very different.
The novel is a sort-of social commentary about the social standings that separate people, and how propaganda and a flawed justice system can destroy innocent lives. The Ghetto Folk are the outcasts, some are criminals, but some are just guilty by association. In Sunny’s own words, can you imagine a petty thief suffering the same punishment as that of a rapist or murderer? In “Ghetto”, an entire family can get kicked out of society simply by being behind rent. Branded as criminals for that?! Children could suffer because one family member stole bread.
These stories of woe remind me of how dictators and governments had done – and continue to do – these things to hold on to their power, to get rid of the poor, and to tip the balance of control in their favor.
What “Ghetto” shows us is a world that’s all too-familiar. But what do we do? Are we just like the First or Second Class citizens who go about our daily business, blind to the predicament of the Ghetto Folk? “Ghetto” tells us to take off our blinders and to truly see what kind of world we’re living in.
Sunny is a bright and touch girl. But in a world where a brand of numbers on a person’s skin is law, an unbranded young man aptly named Sin, holds the key to her enlightenment. She realizes that she has to find a way to stop the injustice, even if her own father is a power-hungry politician.
There are some good characters in the story, but they sadly don’t stand out on their own that much. Sunny is supposed to be a 17-going-on-18, but she talks and thinks like a teenager who swallowed a literary classic, and from time to time burps up big words and flowery thoughts.
The story is good, although there were some typos. All in all, it’s a good story to read for fun and romance, and to remember the social issues we face.
What I do find unique about “Ghetto” is that it doesn’t have to take a rage-fueled, bloodthirsty revolution to save people or destroy an unfair and unjust system. It can be a rousing speech, and the small acts of the few. Now that’s a way to revolutionize a people to change the world.