Book Review: "Commitment Hour" by James Alan Gardner

Commitment HourCommitment Hour by James Alan Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Commitment Hour" by James Alan Gardner explores a special day in the life of Fullin, a resident of Tober Cover. The residents of Tober Cove switch genders from birth until Commitment Day in their twentieth year, when they choose male, female, or both.

The story begins the night before Commitment Day, with Fullin and Cappie separately sitting vigil in the surrounding area, attempting to reason out which gender each wants to choose. Two strangers arrive and the world as everyone knows it implodes.

The author explores several concepts in the book, such as gender roles and sexual identity, without getting bogged down in either details or answers. He wants the readers to think about these concepts as well, and come to their own answers.

I love how each character grows, gains depth as the events unfold. I must admit, two different times towards the end of the book I felt surprised/shocked by what was happening. The events unfolded in a natural way, but there was little foreshadowing. I did not feel like the author cheated. Instead, I think that he did a fantastic job of setting everything up to be surprising without sacrificing credibility.

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