Book Review: Who runs the world by Virginia Bergolt

Author: Virginia Bergin

Who Runs The World

At Felixstowe Book Festival, I treated myself to this book following Virginia’s talk about how she wrote it.

What is the book about?

An airborne disease infects all the males in the world but women are immune. Males are kept safe in sanctuaries as soon as they are born. The rest of the world is run by women. Only the elderly remember life with males.

Virginia wrote this book imagining what the word would be like if men were not part of the world. First she had to decide how to make this world possible and then how this impact would change life as we know it.

How it starts

Fourteen year old River finds an XY (what boys are called) unconscious in the road. She takes him home to her family.

The middle

The family decide to keep the boy and help him heal. It is a miracle he has survived outside the sanctuaries. The laws require he be reported and returned or killed if to sick. The family have to keep him hidden.

Adapting to life with a boy is the main focus. River needs to be aware of her nudity. The boy, Mason, has different mannerisms and customs – like a foreigner in her world.

How it ends

River has an obsession with planes and one of her favourites arrives at a nearby town. She goes to the hanger but it is being kept locked up.

River manages to get in by offering to help refuel the plane. Whilst there she sees a man and helps him escape but things turn nasty and she ends up killing him with a rock. There hasn’t been any murders in years so when Mason takes the blame, everyone believes him.

River then helps Mason find his mum because if they can there is a way around the law. River and Mason then leave to find his mum. When they do, she accepts him and as a result keeps him safe. C

What did I think

The book really made me think about how our genders do play a part in our identity and how others perceive us. I found the world Virginia created was cleverly thought out.

The book started by throwing us right into the action. It was written in first person POV enabling me to feel her distrust and fear of the boy.

Virginia’s writing was really strong and vivid. I would definitely be interested in reading more by this author.

I met Virginia at Felixstowe Book Festival. You can read all about it by clicking here.

I preferred this to The Gender Game by Bella Forrest which is about the world divide between men and women. You can read my review here.

Have you read any of Virginia’s books or have any recommendations for my reading list?