Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unwind (Unwind #1) by Neal Shusterman

Unwind (Unwind #1) by Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date:  Nov. 6, 2007
Pages: 335
ISBN: 978-1416912040

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?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, heavy stuff. But we've been on the fence about this one too, so it's good to know that you enjoyed it.

    Also, the "storking" thing reminds us of that state (Kansas? Nebraska?) that legalized child abandonment because they thought it would help prevent people from leaving babies in dumpsters to die if they could legally drop them off at hospitals and police stations instead. It worked, BUT there was one problem: The law didn't specify a maximum age limit, so people were even dropping of teenagers! The state ended up having to revise the law to better clarify its intent: saving BABIES from being abandoned.