Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Unwind...random thoughts

I finished up Unwind a few weeks back, but I never really added my final thoughts here. Though I wonder if I even need to...I suspect this one is going to stick with me.

I love this book. Is it perfect? No. But it had so much to offer...

My favorite--questions. It asked so many questions. Not flat-out asked them, of course. But it made me ask them to myself. Even better--it didn't try to tell me the answers.

Of course, there's the whole issue that sets up the book, abortion. But even here, it doesn't so much focus on the idea that abortion is "right" or "wrong"...instead it explores a number of possible scenarios that could arise if abortion was made illegal. Actually, I'm not wording that correctly, but I can't quite figure out how to say what I mean without giving things away.

But that's only one of the intriguing roads this book takes. There are also questions like, "what does it mean to be alive?" and "when does one label an act of violence as terrorism?" and...honestly, I could go on an on. Really, there's just so much to this book. But I swear, it's not overdone. And all these multitude of issues meld together remarkably well.

Control of one's own body...war...religion...terrorism...parental rights and responsibilities...

And you know what--it's just a damn compelling story, too! My heart pounded in fear for characters I loved, and I cried big fat tears for a character I hated.

Oh, and one more thing...I mentioned in an earlier post that I wasn't sure I bought into the brief explanation that sort of sets up the whole book, but that I could set that aside. Well, Chris told me that things were eventually explained a bit more. They were, and yes, I'm going to have to agree with him that even this explanation is questionable. But it really did add a bit more credibility to the story overall. And actually, it provided one of the many passages in this book that just made my heart ache:

"...You see, a conflict always begins with an issue--a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing oly: how much each side hates the other..."
Anyway, many thanks to Annie and to Chris for making this book sound so intriguing. I owe you.


  1. You know...the more and more I think on this book, the more I love it. Just for what Neal Shusterman did with it, because it surely was NO easy task! I can't even imagine tackling SO MANY issues like he did with as much finesse as he did, but with such a strong emotional attachment too. Oh god...I just will always remember that unwinding scene. It's not gruesome in the least bit, but the horror just lies in the fact that it happens. I really can't wait for that sequel that he's writing to this one!!

    Oh and can you please tell Annie for me that I can't comment on her blog :( It's making me sad. I sent her a message on facebook about it but I don't know if she got it. It might have to do with the new theme she installed...I don't know but when I click on "post a comment" nothing happens :(

  2. Sorry it took me so long to comment back!

    I thought the quote you posted was interesting, because in some ways I really disagree with it - on a lot of issues, the issue comes from WANTING to hate each other, or feel superior to each other more often. I'm not saying that people on both sides of a given issue don't disagree honestly with each other - abortion is a perfect example of that, I know people who really have an earnest feeling on both sides of the issue. But those people aren't trying to kill each other, they're not bombing clinics, you know? It FEELs like, to me, that the people who kick off actions based solely on an issue like that, are really fihgting over something else. So, in wars, they're almost never fought over an ideal - usually the real trigger is greed, or power, or preservation of a status quo - world war II is an example, it's not like the reason we fought in the war was because Hitler was killing jews, or anything, it was because it was in our self-interest. Some people would even say this is a good thing, I guess - that's basically capitalism, after all.

    The only exception I see to this is in civil wars, and revolutions, and even then, the American Revolution was largely a bourgeois war, fought to preserve the interests of the wealthiest colonists, the French REvolution would have never started if people hadn't been starving to death, etc. Even the Civil War was as much about regional rivalry as in differences over the slavery issue. People fight because they want each other's things, or they want power, or to feel important. I think usually this even translates down into the individual level. AT some level, if you're bombing an abortion clinic, it's not because you really think this is the way to save lives, it's not done from compassion or moral virtue. You're doing it because you've ceased to be a person a particular opinion and you've become a fanatic, someone who wants their cause to win, rather than wanting right to be served. It's ceased to be about abortion, it's become about winning - and in some ways, it never WAS about abortion. Does that make sense?