The Testament of Jessie Lamb

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

Book - 2012
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A powerful dystopian novel in which pregnancy has become a death sentence. Terrorists have concocted a deadly virus known as MDS, which breaks down the proteins in the brains of pregnant women, killing them long before they are ready to deliver. Sixteen-year-old Jessie Lamb is the daughter of a scientist who is looking for a cure for MDS. She’s also a budding activist, flirting with youth groups that have sprung up in the face of this worldwide disaster. Jessie watches as her best friend, Sal, joins a fervent feminist group while her crush, Baz, gets involved with an increasingly radical animal-rights faction. Both groups are polarized when scientists develop a new program that might allow women to carry babies to term, at the cost of their own lives. But Jessie feels like this could be her way to make a difference, much to her parents’ horror.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2012
ISBN: 9781443411981
1443411981
Branch Call Number: F ROG NVD
Characteristics: 240 p. ; 22 cm

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lostintheshelves
May 02, 2017

This is one of the most brilliant sf novels I've read. It uses a sci-fi backdrop--a plague that has made pregnancy fatal for both mother and child--to explore the right to self-determination, reproductive rights, suicide, martyrdom, and the ways women are taught to sacrifice themselves for others. Jessie is a shockingly realistic teen, who cares deeply about the world and longs to find meaning for her life, but also oversimplifies and is led astray by her natural teen desires for rebellion. She's both lovable and annoying, and an incredibly compelling unreliable narrator, who believes utterly in her choices even as the reader realizes that her sacrifice is unwise and unnecessary for humanity's survival. Rogers asks us to think deeply about our values: are we willing to let young women make their own choices, even when they're wrong? It belongs on the shelf with Sarah Hall's Daughters of the North, Charlotte Wood's The Natural Way of Things, and other modern classics of feminist sf.

w
WordaholicEdmonton
Feb 25, 2015

I really enjoyed this read. The character was well voiced, albeit a 16 year old, who of course, is lacking some of the depth of character adult readers expect in a novel. There is a reason and a question to that. When our society is facing a crisis, what do the young do? Why do they make the choices they do, when the lens of 'normal' is out of focus? I found it very interesting on a lot of levels. It was also very well structured and written.

u
uncommonreader
Aug 03, 2013

Although this novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won the Arthur C. Clark prize, I did not find it convincing. Set in the near future, when the continuation of the human race is threatened by a virus killing all pregnant women, it is about the heroism of a 16 year old girl who believes that one must take action and about the impact of her decision on her parents and friends. There are a number of inconsistencies, the motivation of some characters is difficult to understand, and overall the character of Jessie was not engaging.

s
StephenB
May 03, 2012

Just named winner of the British Arthur C. Clarke Award. Not typical sf at all; consistently, intelligently and relentlessly told from the point of view of the very young woman protagonist, whose characterization rang true to me (a middle aged male reader.) I found the book a little difficult to read, but compelling; easy to put down, but I always picked it back up. Probably more a woman's book.

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