Novel: The Unseen World
Author: Liz Moore
Source: OC Public Library
The Unseen World By Liz Moore
Ada lives with her father David who heads Steiner Lab at Boston Institute of Technology. David is raising her unconventionally. He is home-schooling her. He makes her work in his lab and treats her at par with his colleagues, giving her assignments, taking her inputs and even making her discuss her ideas. She is his hostess at his dinner parties, with her specified set of responsibilities. He gives her popular math and science problems to solve. Challenges her with crypto puzzles. Randomly asks her questions to test her knowledge similar to an actual exam in schools.
Ada knows she isn’t like children of her age. She knows that she talks and carries herself like an adult. All her friends are her colleagues from her father’s lab. Although she pines to be with children her age, she is happy with David. But everything changes once David gets Alzheimer and his memory fades.
At first, she cares for him. She hides his state from his colleagues by making excuses for his mistakes or taking the blame on herself. But as his mind declines, it becomes tougher and tougher for her to handle him and hide his disease. The point comes soon when he moves to a care facility. After his departure, a serious allegation is made against David which shocks Ada. And she embarks on a journey to uncover the mysteries surrounding her father.
The Unseen World is a slow mystery. The mystery doesn’t begin in the first half of the book. The first part focuses on Ada and David’s relationship, Ada’s life, her character, her thoughts, her wishes, and her struggles. It’s a slow buildup to the actual mystery in the second half. But, despite being slow, I enjoyed every part of this novel. The novel touches so many concepts like Alzheimer’s effect on the family members, artificial intelligence, friendships, human relationship with machines, etc.
What is the unseen world? The answer comes in the last chapter and is really amazing. The ending gives another meaning to the whole novel and definitely the best part.
I don’t remember the last time I loved a character like Ada. I loved her as a child and I loved her as an adult. Some memories of Ada that will stay with me:
1. Ada is an extremely strong girl. On her first day of school, David gifts her a suitcase to carry books instead of a normal backpack. And that suitcase embarrasses her in front of her classmates when it opens with a strong clamor. She misplaces it the same day. From next day onwards, takes books in her hands which is more embarrassing. Imagine carrying a pile of books every day to school. But she doesn’t want to hurt David’s feelings. And so doesn’t ask him to buy her a bag.
2. Before every visit from the child services, Ada would prepare and instruct David. She would prepare meals for him every day. When she notes David forgets to dress, she lays out clothes for him. She installs an alarm which alerts her whenever David tries to leave the house. She locks him inside the house when she goes to school. All the time she wishes him to wake up from his state and take care of her. She hates the role of caregiver and considers it unfair that she has to care for David instead of him taking care of her. But she hides her plight because she doesn’t want to lose him. Instead believes David is her father and so her responsibility. This again shows her strength.
3. When Ada is with David, she wishes to live the life of a normal child, go to school, hang out with friends, have sleepovers, wear beautiful dresses and have a boyfriend. She feels bad for having these thoughts because they were the sort of thoughts David will never approve, which David will consider frivolous. And when she gets to live like a normal child, she misses David, his assignments, and her lab work. Just like me, always wishing for things I do not have at the moment.
4. Ada’s caring nature. First, she took care of David. After David, when she lives with Liston, she takes care of Liston’s youngest child. And when she becomes friends with Gregory, Liston’s second son, she becomes David for Gregory, giving him books to read, puzzles to solve, mathematical problems of a higher level, etc to vet his intellectual appetite. Because she sees that Gregory has a great mind which would waste without someone like David to nurture it.
5. Ada is also fiercely loyal. She doesn’t believe in any allegations against David. And even feels betrayed by Liston for accepting those allegations so easily. Hence, she starts her own investigation into these allegations to prove David’s innocence.
6. Her cute crush on William Liston, Liston’s eldest child. William is the most popular boy in school and very handsome. He already had a girlfriend, but that doesn’t stop Ada from fantasizing. She would follow him around. From her observations, she knows more about him that he knows about her. Her horrified reaction when the girls at school believe she is like a sister to William.
I listened to the audiobook borrowed from OC Public Library on OverDrive. The audiobook is from Blackstone Audio, Inc and Lisa Flanagan is the narrator. She has a clear voice. I felt she was perfect for this novel. That’s why the audiobook gets a 5/5.
Overall, I loved “The Unseen World”. And would recommend it totally. But don’t go in expecting a mystery from the start.
Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts? Thanks for stopping by. Happy Reading!