[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]
Black Hole takes place in the 1970s United States, where free love and drugs lead to horrific results—like body mutation. Clearly a metaphor for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), characters who have sex with infected people grow extra mouths or tails, or their face and skin simply start rotting off like zombies.
The real strength of this book is what happens to those people. Who can hide their mutation and “pass” as “normal”? Who must flee society and live in the woods with the other mutants? Black Hole may appear to be about STDs, but it is really about stigma, isolation, prejudice, and a whole lot of other things.
Note: Black Hole is one long story broken up into chapters. Some chapters retell the same events from a different character’s point of view, so it can be a little confusing. I recommend just reading the first chapter, which is like a horror short story. Then decide if you want to continue.
My two cents: Sometimes metaphors don’t need to be subtle. Black Hole is really weird, and that’s okay.