Unwind by Neal Shusterman (2007)

I think it’s important to plug young adult literature because while its intended audience is primarily the under 18 crowd, I think adults can learn a lot and find a great deal of enjoyment out of YAF books. And while this is an older one, published in 2007 (I’m probably one of the last people in our high school to read it), its themes are perhaps even more relevant today than 13 years ago.

Set in a futuristic society with a “Bill of Life” written after the so-called Heartland War, abortion is illegal in all circumstances, from the moment of conception until a child reaches 13. But between the ages of 13 and 18, a parent may retroactively “abort” a child by “unwinding” it, that is, by terminating its life but using all of its parts in other people, thereby saving numerous lives and increasing quality of life for society (after all, no one needs to live with a weak heart or weak eyes when so many healthy body parts are available to replace weak ones). Under this Bill of Life, unwinding is acceptable practice for any number of children: the orphaned, the troubled, the expensive, the difficult. Any parent can choose to unwind a child for virtually any reason. Thus, the battle between the pro choice and the pro life factions found its compromise in this new society.

Yes it’s a little far fetched, but also it’s rather compelling as we meet these children, the ones slated for unwinding, the ones whose lives and body parts are deemed better used in other bodies. Of course it portrays the callousness society shows toward a child already brought into the world while at the same time demanding that every child deserves to be brought into this world. According to the book cover, “Shusterman challenges readers’ ideas about life–not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.” This is a good and fast read

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