Friday, March 19, 2010

Marching Forward, 2 at a Time

I just can't seem to stop myself from using a cheesy play on "March" in the title of each blog this month. I wonder if that's symptomatic of a larger psychological issue...must inquire further.

Earlier this week, I finished reading Unwind by Neal Shusterman. It was...amazing. The premise? The second civil war, the one between the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice armies, has ended when all sides agreed to a new policy: abortion is illegal. All babies have a right to be born. Teenagers, however, can be "unwound." Parents can choose to have their children unwound for any number of reasons...100% of their bodies (well, legally, 99.4%) are "recycled."

Not only was Unwind well-written, it probes all kinds of issues. At what moment does a human being acquire a soul? If all the parts of a person are alive, is the person alive or dead? Does the fact that something is legal (or illegal) have anything to do with whether or not it is morally right (or wrong)?

There were, of course, things that I struggled with. There were churches mentioned, but no churches seemed "good." I definitely believe that there are "bad" churches (and, more often, people who do bad things in the name of religion) in the world, but I am not so hopeless as to think they are all bad. In the book, the only description of religion appears to be religious fanatics. This was hard for me.

Of course, I also struggled with the idea that either side of the abortion debate would settle on "unwinding" as a compromise. But that was a pre-existing premise of the book; I found I didn't have to think about it too much.

The other book I finished this week was Darklight, the sequel to Wondrous Strange. I liked it almost as well as I did the first book...almost. There appears to be a lot of promiscuity in the land of the fae, and while I very much appreciate that Lesley Livingston leaves it all to the imagination, it still makes it difficult for me to recommend these otherwise wonderful books to my 8th grade students. Since it's a sequel, I'll leave it at that--and encourage you (if you are over 14) to read this smart, wonderful series!

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