One World Publications 2010
I think it’s beautiful when men show their physical strength openly without being ashamed of it or apologizing. And I think it’s beautiful when women dare to be physically weak and accept help with heavy jobs.
This book affected me. Intensely.
Nutshell blurb: 50 year old Dorritt has just been admitted to the 2nd Federal Reserve Bank for Biological Material where she will spend the rest of her days in relative comfort, undergoing “humane” medical tests and donating organs to more important people in society until the day she makes her “final donation”.
This book scored high for me on the creep-out meter. I’ve been reading a lot of dystopia lately that has been deliciously scary but there is something about donating organs before one dies that freaks me right out. I mean, we will probably never experience a zombie apocalypse, an alien invasion or any of the many scenarios authors of dystopia have dreamed up. But this…this really feels like something that could happen one day. At least it does to me. I’ve never been the same since reading that email that did the rounds way back in the early 2000s about people being drugged in hotel bars and waking up in a bathtub full of ice with a note saying that their kidneys had been removed.
Anyway, back to the book. The fact that it weirded me out has no bearing on whether or not I liked it because I really really did.
As a strong, independent woman, there were things that were difficult for me to read without wincing such as the quote above. The important members of society were the ones in important jobs which served society such as being a doctor, teacher, police officer, etc… Being a parent left you home free as well. Women who didn’t jump into relationships and who made it to the age of 50 without having children or an important job were sent to the Unit. The same went for men who made it to 60. These people are considered dispensable.
The main character wrote novels and read a lot. She mentions that people who read a lot tend to be dispensable. These are the type of people I tend to befriend. Strong, independent, smart.
The reason that I get so affected by stories is that I have a very strong sense of empathy. When I read a book or watch a film, I usually put myself in the place of the characters. I don’t mean that I imagine myself actually in the film or book; I mean that I try to imagine what I’d do in that particular situation. What would my role be in the society?
Well, let’s see…I love to read and write. I have no children and am not sure whether or not I will. I don’t have a job that’s important to society. OH MY GOD, I’VE GOT TWELVE YEARS UNTIL THEY SEND ME TO THE UNIT!!!
This book put me through some heavy emotions. I was terrified, heart-broken, tense, over-joyed…All of these things. I was reading it on the way to work one day and I got to a certain point which made my eyes tear up. I almost started crying right there on the Underground. I absolutely love it when a book can trigger such strong emotions. (I’m sure my fellow commuters thought that I was a bit unhinged, though.)
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. It missed out on 1 star because I was unclear about why the author ended it the way she did. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it.) It was a pretty powerful ending but there was no explanation about why the main character made the choices that she made. I don’t feel that every story has to be perfectly wrapped up, but I do want to understand the motivation behind the choices.
Gosh, I’ve gotta stop reading this kind of stuff before bed…