by Cecelia Ahern
Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10
Summary: Known as a model student, daughter, sister, and girlfriend, Celestine has always been fine with the status quo and never questioned her society. But when she helps an old man, the Guild arrests her. Celestine is facing imprisonment or worst of all, being found flawed and branded. Her whole life could be changed irrevocably from one mistake.
OwlCrate Book April 2016: “Flawed” by Cecelia Ahern
(May Contain Spoilers)
The society in Flawed is one that is based on perfection. Perfection not just in looks but also in behavior. Every decision made could be scrutinized and lead to being branded flawed. Once branded, you carry the brand for the rest of your life and live with more rules and restrictions than normal citizens. While this is a fictional society, it bears a lot of resemblance to our society especially with the preoccupation with being perfect in looks.
2. Marginalized People
Ahern really captures how we treat marginalized people. Treating them as less than human, purposefully avoiding them whenever possible. And then of course, turning a blind eye to any suffering or injustices that they endure.
“And why have I never thought of these things before? Because I never cared, that’s why… I have never spoken to one before. It’s not that we are not allowed to, it’s just that I wouldn’t know what to say. I step around them when they’re near me, I avoid their eye contact. I suppose I act like they don’t exist.”p. 38-39
3. The Right Thing
The reason for Celestine’s arrest and the whole fiasco was because Celestine helped a man who was flawed. But ultimately it was the right thing to do and I love her character for doing this and then continuing to be brave and not lying about what happened in order to save herself. And while there were others who could have backed up Celestine, no one did. Not even her sister or boyfriend. And Ahern reminds us that for many, it comes down to self-preservation, which is understandable.
“I’ve learned that people aren’t cruel. Most people aren’t anyway… but people are strong on self-preservation. And if something doesn’t directly affect them, they don’t get involved.”p. 234
4. Carrick and Celestine
Carrick and Celestine develop a bond that only happens between people who endure hardship together. Like soldiers on the battlefield, this bond to each other is one that cannot be wholly described or replicated because it is forged in an experience that cannot be duplicated. All I know is that I hope Carrick and Celestine find their way back to each other.
Overall, “Flawed” has the message that we are not perfect and to expect any different would be to expect us to not be human. We will make mistakes, we shouldn’t have to pay for them our whole lives, and we shouldn’t condemn others for their mistakes. As Ahern so eloquently wrote in her “Acknowledgments”:
“If there’s one message that I hope this book portrays, it’s this: None of us are perfect. Let us not pretend that we are. Let us not be afraid that we’re not. Let us not label others and pretend we are not the same. Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed, and let us learn from every mistake made so we don’t make them again.”p. 324
As Celestine is on the run from the Guild and desperately trying to find Carrick, her story continues in “Perfect”.