The Testament of Jessie Lamb

During my mindful wanderings reading "The Immortal Henrietta Lacks," I contemplated the future uses of frozen embryos.  This drew me to pull "The Testament of Jessie Lamb" by Jane Rogers from my "to-read" pile.

To be fair, I love dystopian novels and have a strong personal interest in the evolution of women's rights.   So when I originally heard about this book, I knew I would enjoy it.  The back cover tells the reader that "a rogue virus that kills pregnant women has been let loose in the world and nothing less than the survival of the human race is at stake."  Sign me up! In the vein of Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" post-apocolyptic birth worship, Rogers introduces us to Sleeping Beauties, comatose women being kept alive for the sole purpose of their wombs.  Add the mandatory contraception implantation of Huxley's "Brave New World" and tell the story from the point of view of an angst-filled 16-year-old Katniss Jesse.
This will definitely be embraced by young adults who all identify with doing something to change the world, who want to make a difference, who want to do better than their parents, who want to be seen and treated as adults.

In the future will young adults be treated as children until the age of 18 as they are now?  Will they be viewed as adults at a younger age?  This book reverses the pro-life vs pro-choice argument to make women live only by not becoming pregnant and dying if they do.  The ideal Sleeping Beauties are 16-years-olds, but are they able to make the choice themselves to be martyrs?  Or can their parents prevent them?  A whole spin on parental consent laws, right?

While I'm anxiously awaiting the third installment in Atwood's Maddaddam trilogy, this novel filled a bit of the void.
Who will like this novel: anyone who enjoys dystopian novels with female protagonists, also readers interested in alternative futures for reproductive technology.

Who will NOT like this novel:  the reading police.  It will definitely be on a banned books list and be challenged in schools on sexuality and political grounds.

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