Friday, January 18, 2013

Review Me Twice: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This week, we read Unwind by Neal Shusterman. The basic premise goes as follows: There was a big war in America about abortion, and the two sides came to an agreement called the Bill of Life, which decrees that abortions are illegal, but children between the ages of 13 and 18 can be "unwound," which means that 100% of their organs will be harvested and used for transplants, ensuring that they don't "die," but instead "live on in a divided state." This book follows a trio of kids scheduled to be unwound.

Why do I love this book? Two big reasons. The first is that it really doesn't matter what you think of the abortion debate; it doesn't take sides. Example: one of the Unwinds says something about having a right to their own bodies. You can see that as siding with women who want/need abortions, or you can see it as the kids having a right to live; it works either way, and better yet, it doesn't matter at all.

Second reason: Chapter 61. It gives some much-wanted details about the unwinding process, and it's extremely well-written, and that's all I'll say, for fear of spoiling it for anyone.

The only negative thing I can say about the book is that I saw a lot of things coming. This is extremely unusual for me. I don't try to figure out what's going to happen next in books or movies, because I know that if I sit there long enough, it will happen anyway, and I prefer the surprise if I can have it. I'm not saying that any of this ruined the book for me; it's just an experience I'm unaccustomed to.

I lament the fact that I have so much reading to do for upcoming reviews here on the blog, because I am terribly interested in reading the sequels.

As Alex mentioned last week, this blog affords me the opportunity to read things I would never pick up previously, or never really know about, for that matter.  Unwind is something that I probably would never have picked up on my own, but I am eternally grateful that Alex decided we should read it... because it was absolutely fantastic.

Unwind... while it touches on abortion, that's not really what it's about.  It's about choices.  It's about the person that you are.  It's about knowing what it fundamentally right and wrong.  During this book, you realize that unwinding is wrong.  Shusterman doesn't have to tell me that it's wrong; I can feel it in my gut as I read his words.

Imagine you're sixteen.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  You have friends, you have a family you love, dreams that you want and things that you want to do in your life.  And then your parents can't afford you or they decide you're too much of a trouble maker or even something as simple as they don't like the choices you're making or the future that you might have.  You might not have a future anymore.

I have to admit, there is a LOT of commentary in the book about hot topics.  Shusterman, for instances, makes a large commentary on the blind ignorance of religion.  One of our characters is sent off as a tithe.  His parents had ten kids and so Lev was sent off as a "contribution", to give back to the whole.  Yet only the extremely religious are ok with unwinding their kids.

It was a commentary on the world as a whole.  Unwinding was supposed to be a scare tactic to bring the end to a war.  Instead, it ended up being a solution to the end.  And some horrible things were agreed to, like the fact that the person being unwound was to be awake during the process.

This book is so powerful and moving and... intense, I can't describe it in a review.  I can't describe to you the wonderful writing or the incredibly dynamic characters or how this book will really make you assess your beliefs.  Pick this book up.  Seriously.  What are you still doing here?  I told you to go read it, right now.

My bottom Line 5 out of 5

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1 comment:

  1. I think there was a sequel for this book that I haven't picked up yet.