I’ve just read a book and I wonder… I love books that make you wonder; thought-provoking books that stir feelings inside you; feelings of gratitude, empathy, desire and wonderment. Different scenarios play in your head, parts of the book merging with your own life, putting you into the protagonist role. What if things were different? What if I hadn’t been so lucky? What if I were in her shoes?
Jenna Fox is a seventeen year old girl who wakes up with no recollection of her life only to be told by her parents that she has been in a year-long comma after surviving a car accident. Obviously her lack of memory is a problem but as she watches her whole life back on video, cherished memories that she can’t remember, she spots things that don’t make sense. She feels different and things don’t add up. As well as her memory, she is missing two inches and a scar. Secrets begin to unfold, the dots are connected and she soon finds out the unfortunate truth. She survived the accident but her body is not her own.
Following the accident Jenna was in a critical condition and her parent’s just couldn’t bear to let her go. They couldn’t let nature run its course. Modern science took over. They created new legs for her, new arms, a new face. She looks like herself but the only thing that remains is ten percent of her brain. Imagine finding that out… you are only ten percent of your original self. Your heart is not beating. It is just pretending. You are not breathing. You are just pretending. What does that make you? Incomplete? A miracle? A freak? Lucky? Not to worry though, your mum has saved an ovary and uploaded the school curriculum into your brain. Thanks mum, it’s okay now.
Jenna is understandably shaken by what has happened to her, finding difficulty in coming to terms with who or what she is and struggling with her feelings towards her parents. Their love for her was so strong that they would do anything to save their little girl but was it really their choice to make? The ethical implications of their actions are also explored as she learns about the Federal Science Ethics Board “the yea and nay of all research and a lot of medical procedures”. They control what can and can not be done in regards to medical technology, aiming to preserve our humanity by placing the limits and making the rules, rules that Jenna’s parents have broken. Biodigital enhancement is only allowed up to forty-nine percent. Jenna is over the limit. Illegal.
It’s hard to put yourself into that position and even attempt to envision what you would do in her place because it seems so unlikely to ever happen. You feel confident in your humanity. There is no doubt that those hands are yours. Are they? It is a fictional book but don’t forget how much science is advancing. Everyday it becomes an even greater possibility. Look around you. Look at the medical advances. Have a wonder.
What if things were different?
What if you hadn’t been so lucky?
What if you were in her shoes?