Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Unwind (Unwind #1) by Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: Nov. 6, 2007
I was on the fence about reading this one as I had read one book by Neal Shusterman and it just wasn't for me. I've already gotten the second one in this series as I liked it so well.
A compromise was reached between the pro-lifers and pr-choicers - no more abortion. However, unwanted babies could be 'storked' - dropped off on the doorstep of any family and the family is legally bound to keep it. Also, between the ages of 13-18, parents can sign an 'unwind' order for their child. The child will be dissected and used for parts. This way the child is a benefit to society, instead of a burden.
The characters were excellent. They're believable and have honest flaws. Their reactions in times of crisis make sense and they usually show their core values, no matter how they're viewed by outsiders. Three very different teens are sent to be unwound for different reasons. Connor is always getting into trouble - fighting, etc. - Risa is a ward of the state and hasn't developed enough useful talents to be kept and Lev is a tithe - from a religious family that give 1/10 of all they have to God, even their children. Lev has known forever that he's being given to God.
Connor and Risa are both prepared to do anything they can to make it to their eighteenth birthday and freedom. Lev is determined to make it to the harvest camp and be unwound, it's his one purpose in life.
The story does come down to a basic idea - kids are a problem and finally society has found a way to handle them. Instead of parenting or helping, just unwind them!
Honestly, how is that worse than some of the things that happen right now? Kids are emotionally and physically abused, sometimes even murdered, sold into the sex slave trade and more; all by their parents or relatives. I think that's why this book hits so hard. It's not a huge stretch to get to the idea of unwinding unwanted kids.
What kind of life could it be knowing that if you get enough bad grades, aren't popular enough or if your parents just get tired of dealing with you - they could just sign the unwind order and be done. It makes me wonder about the kids that make it to eighteen. Would they be more or less likely to have their own child unwound?
Posted by Dawn at 10/03/2012