Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Young Adult
Reading Format: Audiobook read by Luke Daniels
It's been a few weeks since I finished this book, but I just can't stop thinking about it. This is a book that forces you to think hard about some serious issues, yet it is also pretty much a non-stop thrill ride.
Unwind takes place in a future which has been shaped by a single issue, abortion. America has experienced a second civil war, known as the Heartland War. To end the war, a compromise was reached that ended all abortion. Instead, parents now have the right to elect to "unwind" their children, anytime between the ages of 13 and 18. In the unwinding process, virtually 100% of the child's body parts are harvested for future use. This harvesting of young bodies has virtually erased disease. There is now really no need for scientists to pursue cures to disease as there are plenty of donors available. Unwinding is considered an acceptable practice, and is not viewed by this future society as death, but instead as a transition to another type of existence.
In the novel, the lives of three teenagers on their way to harvest camps intersect, and suddenly they have a chance for survival. If Connor, Risa, and Lev can avoid the authorities until they turn 18, they will be safe, as the law prohibits unwinding after the age of 18. But surviving that long seems more unlikely every day.
What I found especially interesting about this novel, is that Shusterman really doesn't seem to be pleading for either side of the abortion debate. He leaves it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. I have my own firm convictions about abortion, so this book didn't change my viewpoint, but it did give me a better perspective on some of the complexities surrounding the issue. I found the book to be exceedingly well-written, and the characters to be nicely complex. This is a book that will get you both thinking and turning pages quickly.