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Rite of Passage Paperback – February 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
In the beginning, the story may remind you of Heinlein's novella, Universe. But where in that work the punchline is the science, in this one it's the humanity. A young girl works up to, and then works through, her rite of passage to adulthood, and in the process gains much and loses even more, as always happens when we grow up. Be warned: it's not a "kids' book" though. This is for adults who remember, or who want to remember, what it was like to make the transition-- all the joys and all the sorrows. It's also great for young teens who are going through the process right now.
Reviewers who think the politics and the moral issues are oversimplified have missed the point. When you're that age, politics and morals ARE that simple. Would they could always be.
One of my 'top six best science fiction works of all time' picks.
While the book provides typical thought-provoking content in the plot and situations, the real beauty is watching the lead character change mentally and emotionally from a teenager to a young adult.
This is my favorite coming-of-age story...I can't believe it is out of print. Get a paper copy if you can (I've seen it in some used book stores)
Within this milieu, Mia Havero is growing up. As she comes of age aboard a Ship, Mia's notions of the world around her are reshaped and reformed from those of a child into those of an adult. When a member of a Ship reaches the age of 14, each member of the Ship undergoes Trial. A period of 30 days where they are dropped on a Colony world to fend for themselves. If they survive, they return to the Ship as a full adult and member of the Ship's community.
Rite of Passage is a wonderful coming of age tale. Mia's growth from a child who is upset at being uprooted from her traditional home -- being moved from one section of the Ship to another when she is 12 -- all the way to a young woman whose decision making processes mature into a very capable and thoughtful young adult are written exceptionally well. At every stage of Mia's growth, the decisions she was making and the explorations she was undertaking made sense given her age.
For Mia, her Trial coalesces all that she has learned aboard Ship. She no longer has to rely on what other people think and believe -- whether that be her father, her tutor, or even her friends -- but can now make up her own mind in a logical, reasoned process. In essence as well as in fact, she has become an adult.
Panshin's Rite of Passage is highly recommended to anyone who can relate to -- or remember -- the world at first slowly unfolding and then, as time passed, dramatically unraveling into the multi-faceted, multi-hued tapestry that any adult can recognize in the blink of an eye.
I reread this book right after reading the Hunger Games trilogy, which brought some of the defects of Rite of Passage into high relief. How did Trial get started? How did this society, all things considered a decent, civilized society in contrast to the Hunger Games' Panem, allow this tradition to take hold? Especially as it seems to fail in its stated purpose of population control: In most Trial cohorts, few children actually die. Furthermore, the demographics of the ship seem a little sketchy, but I didn't work them out.
Still, none of this is what makes Rite of Passage great, or diminishes it. It is perhaps my favorite book because it, more than any other, shaped my life-long ethics. In Rite of Passage, Trial is merely the backdrop for Mia Havero's own maturing ethics. The story begins with Mia as a self-centered 12-year-old, as most pre-adolescents are. She is not unlikeable, not at all, but it is only through a series of events -- as prosaic as her family moving into a new apartment or as dramatic as Trial itself -- that she begins to understand how her actions, her very existence, affect everyone around her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this when I was much younger , maybe 30 years younger, and re-read it because it was one of my favorite books. As a YA book I think it still deserves 5 stars. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Sarah Webb
I am reading all of the Nebula Award winning novels in time order. This is my fifth.
This is a good book, but not a great one. Read more
One of my favorite books from my teen years. My 13 year old sister read it after I did, and she loved it too. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David Hill
I picked this book up because it was listed in a "must read" of science fiction novels. After reading the last ten pages I can see why! Read morePublished 7 months ago by Socrates2
This book raises a question worth thinking about long after one has finished reading it. WHO OWNS KNOWLEDGE? Read morePublished 8 months ago by psikey hackr
Alexei Panshin's _Rite of Passage_ (1968) was his first novel. An early novelette from _If_ entitled "Down to to the Worlds of Men" was incorporated into the novel, but... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Paul Camp
This was my favorite book when I was in college, going through my own, delayed right of passage. I bought it again, with some fear that it would not hold up, but it certainly did. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Laura A. Keating