Body or Mind?

My next selection was oddly disturbing, but in a good way.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman tells the tale of the strange compromise reached from a futuristic war between pro-life and pro-choice factions.  The agreement states that parents must raise kids until age 13, at which time if things aren’t working out for various reasons, they can decide to have them unwound.  Unwound kids are basically disassembled and all their body parts go on to help others in need.  The premise is that they aren’t being killed because their entire body is being recycled.  Readers are in the mind of one unwound character toward the end of the book, and it really creeped me out as he was mentally aware through the whole procedure!

The book focuses on a few runaway Unwinds whose paths intersect.  The story centers on their travels to escape being sent to harvest camp.   They eventually find a refuge for kids like themselves.  In the process of reading, I couldn’t help but connect to story lines like The Walking Dead (tv series) or books such as Lord of the Flies as a commentary about human nature and how people might deal with lack of order/civilization.  Natural leaders arise, some with evil intentions, and they shape and twist what happens throughout the story.

The story kept my interest but was a bit slow going in parts. There was an entire section about one of the character’s rescuing a storked baby (“Storked” refers to undesired babies left on someone’s doorstep.  The law is that if you get storked, then you must raise the baby until at least 13).  This part was an entire early subsection of the book which I’m guessing was to build some character background.

I felt the author had a lot of thoughts about this surreal idea, and it brought up many existential points to grapple with.

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