Sunday, June 24, 2012

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

The novel opens by explaining that the United States experienced its second civil war instigated by pro-life and pro-choice advocates bent on destroying each other. To end the long, bloody war, government officials came together to create "The Bill of Life," which "states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively 'abort' a child..." They do this by unwinding them, or harvesting their body parts. It's a win-win for all sides: parents get to eliminate unwanted children, society gets plenty of organ donors, and no one (technically) dies.

This novel does an excellent job of bringing serious issues to the forefront. For instance, it has the obvious debate about the value of life, but what about humanity and our responsibility to one another? Aren't parents supposed to protect their children? When does government overstep its boundaries? Is it good to be ruled solely by moral or civil law? Does it have to be one or the other? These were just some of the many questions running through my mind as I read about children living in fear and relying on perfect strangers to show them more kindness than their own families. This book presents a ton of hot topics. In fact, I plan to read it as a class for my comp II class this fall. I want something my students can feel passionate about, and I feel like this is the book that will get them interested in reading.

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