Review: And Again by Jessica Chiarella

25110965*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: And Again

Author: Jessica Chiarella

Publisher: Touchstone

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

ISBN: 9781501116100

And Again
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured. But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

—–

I love reading books that raise questions of ethics and morality in regards to altering the human body to defy death. Not only are these books prevalent in today’s world where we have discussions of printing organs with 3-D printers, but they speak to the future as we move further and further forward with scientific advancement. Chiarella’s story presents a world just like our own with 4 people chosen to test out a new program called SUBlife. These patients were terminally ill or had totally ruined bodies. They and their families would give anything for a second chance at life. Through the SUBlife program, they defy death and gain their lives back. However, in gaining back their lives, they lose themselves.

Each of subjects in the SUBlife project were about to lose everything, but this second chance brings everything they’ve ever known into question. They have to deal with families who have already accepted their death, they need to relearn the skills they’d mastered in their previous bodies, and they need to learn how to navigate the everyday lives they’d previously inhabited as totally remade people. I loved the in depth scrutiny of each character’s life. We see how their relationships change, grow, and are compromised in their new lives. Their introspection gives us insight into how they handle the change, what they feel and how they think. We get to know the characters in an intimate way.

What I would have loved to see more of is the struggle to gain FDA approval for SUBlife–the success or failure of the program and the anger of Christian protesters making a stand again the “unnatural” program. The book touches on these points, but really chooses to focus on character development rather than these subplots. I know what you’re thinking, I’m the girl that always harps on character development. Yes, this book does an excellent job of exploring the character changes–growth and setbacks. But there are such interesting subplots that arise, I wouldn’t have minded an extra hundred pages or so to explore these further.

Overall, I’m glad this was the book to kick off my 2016. I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did. 🙂

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s