Friday, August 26, 2011

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives. The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (from Goodreads)

Unwind is a book that stays with you. I'd put it on my TBR list on Goodreads awhile ago because I kept hearing people talking about it and I noticed that the majority of its reviews were 4 or 5 stars. (If you have time, they are worth skimming through.) When I first started reading it, I wanted to compare it to one of my favorite books -- The Hunger Games. This was easy to do, because both stories involve dystopian societies that have convinced themselves that it's okay to kill children.  But as I read on I discovered this is entirely different. Shusterman, whether he is trying to or not,addresses several "hot button" issues of our modern society -- right to life issues, war, religion, terrorists. One line that really stuck with me was spoken by one of the "founding fathers" of the The Bill of Life, which ended a war between pro-life and pro-choice parties and made unwinding legal:

"I was right there in the room when they came up with the idea that a pregnancy could be terminated retroactively once a child reaches the age of reason. At first it was a joke -- no one intended it to be taken seriously....we proposed the idea of unwinding, which would terminate unwanteds without actually ending their lives. We thought it would shock both sides into seeing reason -- that they would stare at each other across the table and someone would blink. But nobody blinked. The choice to terminate life without ending life -- it satisfied the needs of both sides. The Bill of Life was signed"

See what I mean about this book?! It makes you go, "What?!?!" I guess that's what I love about dystopian fiction. It suggests extreme situations and then runs with them. But at the same time it has that hint of, "Really, just how extreme is it? How far off are we from it? Who says we couldn't possibly head in this direction?" 

I have been talking with people on Twitter about it and have been met with a myriad of reactions from absolute love to "Well, I don't know what to think!" If you have read Unwind, please let me know your thoughts on it. If you haven't, it's definitely worth your time. I promise you, it will leave you thinking.


1 comment :

  1. This book is so haunting. It really does stay with you a long time! There are certain scenes I still remember now...and it's been almost a year at this point!