Touch – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆   (3.75 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★☆☆  (3 / 5 Stars)

Enter a dystopian world where deliberate physical touch is a crime. Kissing, holding hands, hugging – whether by friends, family, or significant others – are all considered heinous acts that can result in at least 10 years in prison. The Seeker has decided that she herself wants to be touched, something denied from her throughout her life. But her mother is resistant to the idea, fearful that the Seeker may become addicted; but the Seeker doesn’t care. But can she resist the temptation to touch again? Or will she be addicted to the touch for life?

This was a fantastic interpretation of a dystopian world. We often take for granted the importance of even the smallest physical contact, and the world of Touch shows how much humanity loses itself without even being able to offer a handshake. People struggle. Touch itself becomes and addiction, no matter the cost.

Briana Morgan is a talented playwriter, able to draw us into this world in one act alone. Through the play,  we’re transported in vessel-like characters, none of whom are named other than with descriptions such as “The Seeker”, “The Dealer”, and “The Cured”, giving us a chance to step into the world with nothing more than the desire to be touched. Even at such a short length, we’re able to understand the impact of the world without touch. We see Addicts struggle, we see the Seeker wanting more, and we see the Dealer in a humane side. 

Yet, the length has some drawbacks. For me, the primary hang up I have is about the Seeker’s relationship with the Dealer. Perhaps I am misinterpreting something (or missed a crucial detail), but it read to me like the Seeker was a naive teenager dabbling in the illegal deed of “touch” for the first time. She falls into the hands of the Dealer, who is portrayed as a man slightly older. So a question raised in my mind…was she a minor getting drawn into a world unknown to her? Or was she older than I interpreted, hence a non-issue? Perhaps if we had spent a bit longer with the Seeker, I might have understood more. Perhaps her full-throttle jump into the world of being touched would have been at a better pace, rather than a one-night stand. That, I suppose, is the flaw in plays or in shorter stories: we don’t get the full picture. 

But nonetheless, I really enjoyed this play! I could picture the scenes playing out on the stage (even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the audiobook narrator), and hung on to every scene, waiting to find out what touch the Seeker sought next. 

What’s it about?

The Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it? . 

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