Jenna wakes up in a house she does not know, with a mother and grandmother she does not know, and, most disturbing, a self she does not know. She is 17, so you might say that she is going through the kind of search for an identity that we all do at that age. But in Jenna’s case it’s a very self conscious process. She has had an accident that has wiped her memory, and has to re-discover herself through video discs that chronicle important occasions in her past. At the same time, she becomes aware that they are living in secrecy, that her mother is taking more than usual care about what Jenna eats and drinks and that her grandmother somehow resents the situation they are all in. It is sometime in the distant future. The possibilities and repercussions of re-engineering humans, including lifelike prosthetic body parts, have become so great that certain applications have become illegal; and Jenna’s father is a bio scientist who has made a fortune from discovering a means to transplant any organ without rejection. So who or what is Jenna? Pearson’s depiction of Jenna’s discovery of herself is fascinating. Her search for self consciousness is integrated with a search for an immediate past that her parents wish to keep from her and an emotional history that she only gradually comes to understand. The speculation on what it might it be like to have the brain of an adult and begin life from almost nothing like a baby is cleverly done, with some witty play with language, as Jenna meditates on its variety and ambiguity. I am not so sure about the fellow students that she meets at her (very) small and private school or about the discussions around bio-ethics, the nature of souls and the frequent quotes from Thoreau’s Walden. I assume something important is being said but I am not sure exactly what. Not that it matters too much. The pleasure in reading the book and its distinctiveness comes from its imagination of a mind coming to know itself and the world around it.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2010-07-01 00:00:082022-03-03 14:51:41The Adoration of Jenna Fox