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The Testament of Jessie Lamb: A Novel Paperback – May 15, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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“Jane Rogers has captured Jessie’s voice brilliantly, alternating a teenager’s solipsism with a growing awareness of the wider world. Jessie’s self-conviction is both admirable and infuriating, and the reader is torn between her clear, unequivocal conclusions and the intricate, heartfelt compromises of her parents.” (Times Literary Supplement (London))
“A powerful dystopian novel…Long-listed for the Booker Prize, Rogers’ mesmerizing tale is frighteningly timely and bound to spark rich book-club discussions.” (Booklist)
“Thought-provoking, smart, real, disturbing, and well-written...A compelling page-turner of a novel.” (Popmatters)
“Echoes of Kazuo Ishiguro’s stealthy novel Never Let Me Go abound, but Rogers works with a more populist tool kit, nailing the tempestuous inner conflicts of a young woman as she discerns the full measure of selfishness required to be selfless.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Beautifully and convincingly written, Jessie’s testament for posterity is truly moving, haunting…a rich, heavy read, full of provocative questions…” (Kirkus Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Booker longlist can be relied on to throw up at least one novel on a controversial subject. Last year it was "The Slap". This year it's this novel. There's no doubt it asks awkward and unsettling questions about a variety of issues including the age at which people can take informed decisions, the rights and wrongs of scientific research and animal testing and the right anyone has to chose their own death. There are no easy answers to any of these questions of course.
As you might infer from the title, the story is written from a first person narrative by Jessie. Often with first person narratives it's difficult to get a true steer on the character herself. Effectively she's dealing with the usual teen dramas of arguing parents, failed love and general `what's the point of me?' stuff. She's into environmentalism and vegetarianism, all in the idealistic way of many of her age.Read more ›
Jane Rogers' execution of this idea was poor. My main issue was with the protagonist, Jessie. To put it bluntly, she's a whiny, self-absorbed teenager who thinks she's the most important person in the world. Most of the book is her complaining that she knows better than all the grownups but that no one listens to her, which means they're clearly idiots. The more this character was developed, the less I liked her or cared about the story.
Another huge problem I had with this book was how often the author seemed to want to add animal rights to the story, despite it being unimportant. I'm pretty much going to guess that the author is vegan or an animal rights activist, and wanted to shove it in wherever she could. It was an annoyance.
Third, and this is more of an editing problem than an author one, but I found so many typos that I kept getting distracted from the story.
And lastly, the book is so predictable that it's ridiculously boring. After reading the first 50 pages I had it figured out.
Do yourselves a favor and read something else. There are a lot of amazing books within this genre that are significantly better.
The story has all of the typical themes of teenage angst and parental tension, placed in a dramatic, mildly dystopic setting. But for the most part the characters are shallow caricatures of various extreme views. The most interesting relationship in the book is between Jessie and her father, but the tensions in that relationship are made to just poof away in an extremely absurd ending, during which a weakened 16-year old Jessie can somehow get her father, a healthy, middle aged man who is no push-over, to lock himself up while she escapes to her death.
I wanted to like this book, but the unintentionally implausible plotting and the juvenile characterization turned me off, and I finished the book in disgust. The author says she was inspired in part by Philip Roth's great novel of father-daughter tension, American Pastoral - go read that much better book instead of this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting story but the topic is not new or compelling. Not a book for early teens or Tweens in my opinion.Published 14 months ago by Betty Reynolds
This book starts out by immediately intriguing the reader with Jessie, the main character, being imprisoned in a room. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Johanna Selover
The book surrounds teenager's idealistic sacrifice for the human race. But the book cannot go in depth about her decisions and since the whole book is written in the teenager's... Read morePublished on July 4, 2014 by Leung Yiu
While the writing was good, premise interesting, I just could not find myself interested in the story or characters. Read morePublished on May 20, 2014 by Nic
A startling and interesting premise - a future when all pregnant women must die. To ensure the survival of the human race, scientists work on possible scenarios. Read morePublished on October 1, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I thought this was an excellent book. A good number of other reviewers here obviously don't agree, but I found it thoughtful, gripping and very well written. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by Sid Nuncius
This is a moving coming-of-age story in a science fiction, dystopian setting. It does not leave its immediate plot unresolved, but there is much left to ponder at its conclusion. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Karen A. Wyle
I didn't love this one. I found myself not really caring for the main character and her childish teenage quest for acceptance. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Thinman61
Others have outlined the story so I won't bother. I thought the plot moved along well and I was engrossed through the first half of the book, though a bit less so in the second... Read morePublished on May 29, 2013 by Welshie39