Michael O’Connell is a 20 year old poorly educated career criminal. His chosen money making scheme is house breaking and he’s very good at it managing to go undetected even if the home owner is in the house with him. Michaels luck finally runs out when he breaks into the home of the DA. The police are intent on catching this perpetrator and it doesn’t take long before they are led to Michael and he is arrested. The judge decides to make an example of him, sentencing Michael to five years behind bars but during his transfer from court house to prison he is shot and spends the next four years unconscious in a coma, on waking he finds a very different world.
The end of marking time is the story of a Dystopian society where the justice system has been totally revamped, prison is no-longer the default punishment for crime, instead criminals are ‘reeducated’, a form of rehabilitation where, while being ‘free’ they are tagged and given tasks to fulfil in order to turn them into productive members of society thus ending their sentence.
The story is told from Michaels point of view as he is telling ‘us’ his history. How he finds it difficult to adjust in this ‘new world’ being unable to see any way of making a living other than by crime no matter how hard he tries. He meets his son for the first time and enjoys the task of finally learning to read but it still isn’t enough to put him completely back on the straight and narrow, he often finds himself falling back into his old ways.
The plot is quite well thought out, unique and in the most part interesting. I find it quite worrying to think that this world C.J West invented could easily become our world and although I think rehabilitation is possible in some cases on the whole I think it is not. I was slightly disappointed with the out come for Michael, it seemed very unfair and not the result I would have chosen. It certainly wouldn’t have ended like that for him had he served his prison sentence in the original way it was set.
I did enjoy this read but it’s not my usual genre and it wasn’t the type of book I could throw myself into or feel part of, but still it was an entertaining book.