A rogue virus that kills pregnant women has been let loose in the world, and nothing less than the survival of the human race is at stake.
Some blame the scientists, others see the hand of God, and still others claim that humanity is reaping the punishment it deserves for years of arrogance and destructiveness. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary 16-year-old girl living in extraordinary times. As her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her toward the ultimate act of heroism. Jessie wants her life to make a difference; but is she heroic, or is she, as her scientist father fears, impressionable, innocent, and incapable of understanding where her actions will lead?
Set in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman’s struggle for independence. As the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart, Jessie begins to question her parents’ attitudes, their behavior, and the very world they have bequeathed her.
Jane Rogers has written numerous books, including Mr. Wroe’s Virgins, Island and The Voyage Home. She has won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Writers’ Guild Fiction Book Award. A professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University, she lives near Manchester, England.
©2012 Jane Rogers (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc
"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)
"The novel does not set up an elaborate apocalypse but astringently strips away the smears hiding the apocalypses we really face. Like Jessie's, it is a small, calm voice of reason in a nonsensical world." (Independent, London)
"A wonderful evocation of teenage confusion, passion, and idealism." (Daily Mail. London)
I like Doctor Who.
I'm a sucker for apocalyptic stories, and this one fits the bill. The premise isn't original, but it's handled in a way that I found immensely interesting. I especially enjoyed the background events as people group and splinter as they adjust to the new reality. The book asks a lot of questions about sexuality, parenthood, and consent, but it doesn't really answer any of them. This might be a great selection for a book club.
The book is written in first person and the limited viewpoint can be frustrating, especially since the protagonist is a teenage girl. On the other hand, she is realistically written and while I, as an adult, find her decisions difficult to accept, they are exactly what many teenagers would do.
I don't usually get emotional over books, but I did tear up a little at the end. I only wish that there had been an epilogue to the story, something to let the audience know how the MDS situation shakes out.
Fiona Hardingham does an excellent job with the narration. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another book with her as the narrator.
There are a lot of issues with the book. As mentioned before, the premise is unoriginal, the protagonist is, at times, unlikable, and the end of the book leaves the reader with questions. But the book is extremely compelling and has a story that will stay with you long after you have finished it.
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