Daz 4 Zoe PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 May 2009 16:55

Robert Swindells

 Set in the not too distant future, society in Britain has been divided into two very distinct groups. On one side are the 'Subbys', made up of the affluent middle-classes who live in the suburbs. The Subbys go to good schools, live in nice houses, eat decent food and want for nothing. On the other side are the 'Chippys'. The Chippys live in the cities and are named after their supposed staple diet of chips. They tend to live in slums (mainly derelict tower blocks), eat poor quality food (and very little of that), leave school early with little education and do the most menial jobs. The two groups despise each other, living in a state of fear and media fueled hatred. A checkpoint is in place along the border between the city and the suburbs, the crossing of which is very dangerous.

  Zoe Askew is a Subby girl with few friends, so when pretty much her only companion invites her along to go 'Chippying', she she feels obliged to go. Chippying involves crossing the border and going to a nightclub in the city, an adventure filled with potential peril.

 On entering the nightclub, Zoe spots Daz, a good looking Chippy boy. After a brawl between one of Zoe's companions and some Chippys, Daz helps the Subbys escape, but this act of kindness puts both his life and that of his mother at risk from the Chippy terrorist organisation called Dred.

 Neither Zoe nor Daz can get the image of the other from their minds. But living in such different societies with a gulf of bitterness between them, not to mention strict laws, it seems impossible that they could be together.

 Driven by the passion and desire she feels for Daz, Zoe realises that she must take drastic action for them to be together. However, in doing so she puts more than just her own life in danger. Can true love really conquer all, even the spectre of hatred?

  In Daz 4 Zoe, Robert Swindells has created a gripping dystopian love story. However, there is a lot more to this novel than just a modern day Romeo and Juliet.

  When Swindells wrote Daz 4 Zoe, he was interpreting what might happen if the current divide in the British education system was carried out to its 'natural conclusion'. With the divide between the well and poorly educated pupils ever widening, it seems inevitable that the gap between rich and poor can only increase. Daz 4 Zoe is a commentary on how division within society leads to mistrust and then to hatred.

  The story is written from the perspectives of Daz and Zoe, the chapters alternating between each of their narratives. Whilst Zoe's words are clearly expressed, the sections for Daz are slightly harder for the reader to decipher. Swindells has chosen for Daz to write words in a more phonetic manner, i.e - as you hear them. This is a bit confusing at times, but a very effective means of representing Daz's (and most Chippy's) lack of education.

  As with most things in life, the situation is not black and white. The two groups, Dred and Fair, both desperately want to change the system, though Dred has adopted violent methods. The final sentence of the novel, which blurs the boundaries of the suburbs and city, highlights the couples hopes of a potential new future.

  Daz 4 Zoe is a remarkable story that questions many of the standards upon which our society is based. It is a valuable text for the teen reader and comes highly recommended.



Last Updated ( Sunday, 31 May 2009 19:57 )
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