The Testament of Jessie Lamb

The Testament of Jessie Lamb

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by Jane Rogers
     
 

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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 human arrogance and destructiveness are reaping the punishment they deserve. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl living in

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Overview

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 human arrogance and destructiveness are reaping the punishment they deserve. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl living in extraordinary times. As her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her toward the ultimate act of heroism. She wants her life to make a difference. But is Jessie 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 to become independent of her parents. 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Time Magazines Literary Supplement (London)
"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)
“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.”
The Independent
“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.”
Booklist
“A powerful dystopian novel…Long-listed for the Booker Prize, Rogers’ mesmerizing tale is frighteningly timely and bound to spark rich book-club discussions.”
Popmatters
“Thought-provoking, smart, real, disturbing, and well-written...A compelling page-turner of a novel.”
New York Times Book Review
“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.”
Kirkus Reviews
An idealistic young heroine makes a decision that will alter her life, and possibly the world, in Rogers' (The Voyage Home, 2004, etc.) eighth novel. It's not easy being a teenager in Lamb's futuristic world. Like many young people, 16-year-old Jessie is struggling to find her own identity. She's dealing with all of the conflicts inherent in a teen's life--love, friendship, relationships, parental control--but she's also surrounded by an ominous force that threatens the very future of humankind: a genetically engineered virus, known as Maternal Death Syndrome, which destroys pregnant women and their unborn children. Jessie's father, a scientist, is part of a team that is working to stop it. Jessie, who narrates the story, begins to question all the attitudes and values she and her friends have learned as children. In an effort to find herself, Jessie joins an activist group and becomes marginally involved in several causes. As she ponders her role in life, the world around Jessie is disintegrating into chaotic demonstrations over women's equality, genetic engineering, moral injustice and just about every other important social issue known to man. Each is treated superficially by both Jessie and the author, and ultimately these threads detract from what could have been a provocative story. As if Jessie doesn't have enough on her plate already, she also must deal with her beloved aunt's illness, a rocky event in her parents' marriage, a friend's assault, the betrayal of an older adult, and a sexual encounter. Amid the turmoil, Jessie resolves to do something to make her life meaningful, a move that her father and those around her try to prevent. With an emotional disconnect that is inconsistent with true teen behavior, Jessie tries to convince her parents, her friends and herself that her chosen mission is the right path for her--and that one person can, indeed, make a difference. A disturbing story that, in the end, somehow seems a bit shallow.
The New York Times Book Review
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.
—Jan Stuart

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062130808
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Series:
P.S. Series
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author

JANE ROGERS has written eight novels, including Her Living Image (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Mr. Wroe’s Virgins (a Guardian Fiction Prize runner-up), Promised Lands (winner of the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book), Island (longlisted for the Orange Prize) and The Voyage Home. She has written drama for radio and TV, including an award-winning adaptation of Mr. Wroe’s Virgins for BBC2. She has taught writing at the University of Adelaide, at Paris Sorbonne IV and on a radio-writing project in eastern Uganda. She is professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jane lives on the edge of the moors in Lancashire, England. Visit her online at janerogers.org.

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