Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Publisher:  Harper Perennial
Expected Publication Date:  May 15, 2012
ISBN:  0062130803
Genre:  dystopia
Book Summary:  Jessie Lamb is an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times: as her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her towards the ultimate act of heroism. If the human race is to survive, it's up to her. Set just a month or two in the future, in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman's determination to make her life count for something, as the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart.
 Wow!!  That is my first thought after reading this book.  Such powerful content.  I'd classify this one as a real thought provoker!!  Lots of moral issues addressed.  Emotions at all scales and levels.

Jessie's world is shrouded with the fact that everyone has been found to have contracted a deadly disease called Maternal Death Syndrome (MDS) - no one survives pregnancy. So, what does that mean for society?  Will the human race cease to exist?  

Everyone is looking for a way to overcome this deadly virus, or at least finding a way to live a life worth speaking of. Scientists have experimented with different ideas, and have found a way for the infants to survive by making their mothers "Sleeping Beauties".  However, the virus is still passed on, and the cycle still continues. Jessie experiments with different scenarios - she joins different organizations that she feels are making a statement or impact toward the survival of the human race.  She eventually comes to a decision that she believes will be her contribution and will make her life matter - even if she will not see it in the end.  Unfortunately, her family is not accepting of her decision, and she has to battle those she loves.

I could not imagine living in a time like this - although you never know what will happen from one day to the next.  This book really gets under your skin.  In a lot of ways it is kind of uncomfortable to read - although I could not put it down.  It was very awkward to say the least!  

I read this book as a book club choice.  I doubt I would have picked it up on my own, but I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read it.  I love books that challenge me and make me think - to soul search.  I believe this book is written as a young adult novel, however, I feel that any adult would gain something from reading it.  It has much to offer a vast audience.  However, if you are all for fun, cheerful books, this one is not for you.  

Intertwined in this tragic novel, Jessie deals with the typical trials and tribulations of a sixteen year old.  She is   dealing with the ups and downs of friendships, boys, her future, and her family.  Looking at all of these facets through the lens of MDS, however, is quite a different view of what our teenagers today.

I enjoyed reading this first-person narrative account of Jessie Lamb.  I found her to be a very vivid character, with an internal strength far beyond what I would have expected.  I honestly feel that first-person was the best approach to this novel.  It added to the emotion of the whole thing.  I must say that at the conclusion of reading this book, I was so ready for a more up-beat and cheerful book.  

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