The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness follows the coming of age of Todd in this science-fiction story. As a young child Todd didn’t know of anything hidden from him. When he got older, information that he was “sheltered” from gets forced in his direction. Todd had to accept that many things that were kept hidden from him as a child. When he found out that he was brought up with lies he is confused, and doesn’t want to believe it. This discovery helps him learn about the real world.
Todd grew up in Prentisstown, a town on the New World consisting only of males. As a child he was told that Prentisstown was the only settlement on New World. When forced to run away, he discovers many other settlements, and the truth that was hidden from him for his entire life.
In the beginning of his journeys, Todd learns that Prentisstown men aren't welcomed anywhere. The law of New World states that Prentisstown men found outside of Prentisstown will be killed. Luckily for Todd, he is still a boy, so he can't be killed; he still faces many hard feelings though. On his journeys, Todd sees his caretaker and substitute father, Ben, outside of Prentisstown. When men from a settlement see Ben, they say to Todd, "You might want to be careful who you start claiming as a parent, Todd" (378). Todd has a hard time facing that people, such as Ben, who he cares about are hated by the rest of New World. All of a sudden he had to accept that the people he grew up loving and looking up to are disliked by everyone else
A big mystery in this book is what happened to the women? Prentisstown is a completely male town. Todd and all of the other boys were told that the women were killed by a germ that was released by aliens, called spackle. When Ben told Todd the truth, Todd said, "The men of Prentisstown killed the women of Prentisstown" (393). This makes Todd feel hatred, more than he already had, for the men he grew up with. It also makes him feel hatred for himself for not figuring out the truth. He eventually comes to term with it, but hates his hometown even more. When he found this out, Todd didn’t believe it at first. He had always wished that he could meet his dead mother. It was easier to blame it on aliens, than his own neighbors.
Growing up, Todd was told the lie that Prentisstown was the only settlement on New World. Prentisstown had no associations with other settlements that Todd could remember; this was because Prentisstown was a "town in exile." Because of killing the women, the other New World settlements hated Prentisstown. "All men from Prentisstown were declared criminals. [They] couldn't leave" (394). Todd had a hard time accepting that other settlements existed, because he had grown up with the idea that Prentisstown was the only settlement. As he travels, he sees the world that he had missed out on as a younger boy. Seeing the real New World helped him come to terms with other things that came out at him after leaving Prentisstown such as what happened to the women, and why Prentisstown men aren’t welcome anywhere
Todd changes, and becomes more accepting and less ignorant as he learns more about the world. He is aware and accepts that he was brought up with lie, and he changes into a more accepting and knowledgeable-about-the-world person.