Monday, July 14, 2008

A Person or a Thing?

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
4Q 3P J/S

(Apparently, Blogger's scheduling option doesn't always work. This was supposed to be auto-posted a couple of weeks ago.)

Is it possible to be loved too much?

What makes a person a person?

Just because you can do something, does that mean you should?

Jenna Fox has been in a coma for a year. When she wakes up, she doesn't remember who she is. She doesn't know even the simplest words, and her mind can't grasp concepts like time. She doesn't know how to read the expressions on people's faces anymore. She can't walk, and she can't talk. She makes amazing progress, though. It only takes a couple of days before she can talk and walk around. Her memory is still spotty, though. She can quote whole pages from books, but she can't remember who this person she's supposed to call Mother is. She doesn't remember her father, either, or her grandmother, Lily. Even worse, she doesn't remember herself. She has to watch video discs to learn that she excelled at ballet or see what a happy family they used to be. And there are plenty of discs to watch - one for every year of her life, right up until her accident. Every moment of her life was chronicled by her doting parents.

Those vids were of her life back in Boston. But only her father lives there now. Jenna, her mother, and Lily are out in California, living in a house that seems empty and unfinished. As hard as her mother tries to make everything seem normal, things just don't seem quite right. For one thing, Jenna doesn't need to know how to read expressions to know that her grandmother doesn't like her. What could she possibly have done to make Lily dislike her so much? And why does their neighbor tell Jenna that they've only been in the house for a couple of weeks, when she's sure they must have lived there for a couple of years? Why does she keep having dreams about her two best friends, and why doesn't she have any get well notes or calls from them? Why does her mother get so uptight whenever Jenna tries to leave the house? And why are there locked rooms behind the closets?

When Jenna discovers the answer to the last question, everything begins to fall shockingly into place. And then Jenna discovers the shocking truth that her parents have hidden from her. She begins to question her own existence. Who is she? What is she? And should she be at all?
Science has made our lives easier. It's enabled us to explore space. It's helped us to live longer and healthier lives. But can science go too far? At what point does helpful science turn harmful? And just because something is possible, does that mean it should be done?


(Jenna's poems appear throughout the book. This is one of them.)


A bit for someone here.
A bit there.
And sometimes they don't add up to anything whole.
but you are so busy dancing.
You don't have time to notice.
Or are afraid to notice.
And then one day you have to look.
And it's true.
All of your pieces fill up other people's holes.
But they don't fill
your own.

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