Friday, 9 December 2011

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

Title: The Testament of Jessie Lamb
Author: Jane Rogers
Publisher: Sandstone Press
Published:  February 2011
ISBN: 978 1905207589
Rating 4.5/5

The cover doesn’t really tell you anything about the book itself, and probably wouldn’t be a book I’d pick up without knowing what the story was about.

Jessie Lamb is 16.  The book starts really uncaring, cold and brutal and made me sit up and want to know why someone would treat a young adult in such a way….the book shows you the ending and then introduces you to what happened and how Jessie became to be a prisoner within a house which peaked my curiosity.

This book really highlighted for me that we take normal everyday occurrences for granted.  Pregnancy and motherhood have long since been accepted as women's birthright…this book turns that on its head and as a parent this book both shocked and disturbed me – with children having to ultimately sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity, and having to make concessionary compromises in the face of the unthinkable.

I found it so sad what Jessie was willing to do.  At 16 she’s single mindedly decided she can solve the problem of genetic disease, so she goes against her family, one of which is a scientist himself,  and sacrifices her life to science without any guarantee it will help future generations.  She has determination which comes with youth, and it isn’t until the end that I got a sense of her maturity.  The fact that her father is a scientist makes it even more poignant, as there is a dual undercurrent.  Whilst he is trying to work for a cure, he’s unwilling as a parent to accept sacrificing his child to the work he is committed to.

I think there are not many parents who would encourage their children to sacrifice themselves, so this for me proved to be a poignant and thought inducing book – it has cults, activism and relationships in, many of which I can relate to in some form.

A quote from The Testament of Jessie Lamb…
“Everyone is moving- we each follow our business as importantly as dogs trotting down the street.  No one can tell us who is special or who is not.  All these stories must go on.  On and on to their children’s children.”

Book synopsis:
Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God, some see human arrogance reaping the punishment it deserves. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times: as her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her towards the ultimate act of heroism. If the human race is to survive, it’s up to her. But is Jessie heroic? Or is she, as her father fears, impressionable, innocent, incapable of understanding where her actions will lead? Set just a month or two in the future, in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman s determination to make her life count for something, as the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart.

Many thanks to Sandstone Press, a copy was received in return for an honest review.


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