Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a dystopian novel published in 2009.  This futuristic novel opens years after a civil war, known as the Heartland War, was fought over the right for a woman to have an abortion.

Synopsis taken from Amazon's product page:
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. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breath-taking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.
This is the type of novel I don't normally read, since it has an obvious political message which is subject to interpretation.  What I find interesting is how deeply offended some people are at the content.  Actually, I am not surprised that people are offended.  What surprises me is that people on both sides of the issue are absolutely convinced that the author is promoting the other viewpoint.  Some people who are very pro-choice are convinced that the author is biased towards pro-life.  At the same time, an equal number of people who are very pro-life are convinced that the author is biased towards pro-choice.  Both sides feel that the author is biased towards the other side.

So which is it?  The author wrote this book in a very clever fashion, and the book could be seen either way.  I have a suspicion, although I do not know for sure.  I am going to stop short of explaining, since no matter what I write, I would open the door to discussion of a very controversial political topic, which is not appropriate for this blog.  Suffice it to say that this book is deeply thought-provoking.  I enjoyed it for the horror and suspense, although I would not put it near the top of my list since for me, reading books is intended as escapism.  One cannot completely escape reality while reading this particular book.  It is unsettling.

The next book, UnWholly, will be released soon.

1 comment:

stratomiker said...

Odd that dystopia tales are teen-popular now. they were huge in the 1960s when I was a teen, but adult books of course. I read a lot of them. This one sounds perfectly dreadful, at least the subject matter.