Sunday, July 19, 2015

UnWound - A Book Review


       I recently finished the Unwind series, by Neal Shusterman.

"In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. The reasoning is that, since 100% (actually 99.44% taking into account the appendix and other "useless" organs) are required to be used, unwinds do not technically "die", because their individual body parts live on. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound."

       "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."

         What makes a human, a human? What gives a life worth? As a Christian, I know the answer to those questions, but in a world where morality is often seen as whatever "feels right" and is culturally accepted, the lines between right and wrong seem blurred and skewed.

      These books are frightening to me, in a way. They ask the questions - what if? What if we, as a country decided that using "unwanted" teens as organ and tissue donors was giving them  a "more worthwhile existence"? What if we told ourselves - "It's not murder - it's doing what is best for society, and the child." ?

      Ah - they frightened me because I can see the abortion movement wrapped all in the moral dilemmas it draws. People say, "It's not murder. It's a choice!"... but what about the person being killed? What choice do they have? ...

      As the premise would dictate - these books are dark. People die, and/or are literally taken apart - some are put back together. I don't find it all realistically believable, but it does make me ponder some very pointed questions...

     How do I defend a human being's right to life? Some heretical churches claim that abortion is okay - just like in this book some religious sects defend unwinding - so how do we as a Church defend against the lies that creep in?

      I didn't expect a young-adult future-world book to make me do so much thinking... So for that, I'm glad I read them. I recommend them, but with caution, for their dark content and the broken view of Christianity they portray.

        As for the book itself - the writing, the characters, the pacing - it all worked well together. I enjoyed the different life-view perspectives of the characters, and the fact that they had families (or lack-there-of), history that haunted them, and goals. They grew - good side characters came in and out - some people died -  and you could never be quite sure if the author really would let the 3 main people live ( Heh, and I won't spoil that for you.) ... The overall arching story-line of the series ended with a sense of completeness. I like that.

       If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

~Ophelia - Marie

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