The Silvers - Jill     Smith

This sci-fi book is written really well, but at least for me, it was extremely difficult to read.
The story it tells is kind of similar to Stranger in a Strange Land. A human space expedition has found an intelligent humanoid species on another planet (Silvers), but their emotional balance is different from humans - they have almost no negative emotions and are very peaceful. Of course, they need to be thoroughly studied, and one of them is brought back to Earth. The book is the story of that Silver (Imms) and his difficulties with assimilation into the human society, as well as the story of the captain of that space mission (B) who's developed a close relationship with Imms.
For some reason, I felt so strongly for Imms that I cried almost the whole time I was reading this book. Everything the scientists did to Imms and other Silvers, every time he simply couldn't understand the reasons behind the actions of other people, every time B hurt him accidentally or on purpose, was just heartbreaking. It was awful to see this kind and brave person broken and hurt, developing feelings he was never meant to experience. Although I also empathised with B, sometimes it was really difficult to get why he would do stuff that he knew would bother Imms and wouldn't be understandable to him. At least, there were also some bright spots in the story, so it wasn't all bad. :) I loved how Imms learned to fight for something he really wanted, and how he, but also B and his family in return, sometimes went out of their way to make the others happy. Those moments were also beautifully written and heart-warming.

The thing I feel was lacking, though, was the ending. I mean, what happened in the last chapter of the book was great, but I didn't like that it ended where it did. I think the author took the easy way out - Imms and B are temporarily free, but I can't imagine any way it could stay that way, and I think the author couldn't either. Imms has such a distinct appearance that he could never fit in, so it's impossible for them to live somewhere anonymously. Also, even if they could find some safe haven where they could stay (if B doesn't drown or get pneumonia or something from the long swimming Imms is planning), they have no money, even no dry clothes, so how can they survive? I guess the author's "excuse" from a Silver's point of view (living in the now, no long-term planning - although that's kind of false, considering the Silvers' society's high level of organisation for mating, for instance) did kind of make sense from Imms' perspective, but what about B's point of view? So, I would have liked a more complete solution, either B's family or Grena helping them get settled somewhere.

(show spoiler)

In spite of the abovementioned problems, I think this is a great book and definitely worth reading for a sci-fi fan.