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The Testament of Jessie Lamb

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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...

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The Testament of Jessie Lamb

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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.

Winner of the 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Award

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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.”
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.”
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.”
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: 5/15/2012
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 959,576
  • 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Book With Many Themes

    The Tes­ta­ment of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers is an award win­ning science-fiction book tak­ing place in the near future. This is a book that out of my com­fort zone as I usu­ally don’t read this genre (I used to), but I’m glad I read and think it’s impor­tant to read books which you might not otherwise.

    Jessie Lamb is 16 years old, daugh­ter of a British sci­en­tist attempt­ing to find a cure for MDS, a nasty virus. MDS was unleashed upon the world by an unknown group; the virus attacks preg­nant women and their babies killing the woman before she is able to give birth.

    Jessie is flirt­ing with activism, not using a car when unnec­es­sary, join­ing youth groups and more. But she finds new mean­ing when sci­en­tists dis­cover that women under 16 ½ have great chances of pro­duc­ing a baby, cre­at­ing a future for human kind at the expense of their own lives.

    The Tes­ta­ment of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers almost reads like a clas­sic dystopian novel and I’m sure it will become one soon enough. I found the story sur­pris­ing with sev­eral gen­tle twists, every time I thought I knew what was going to hap­pen, I found out I was wrong.

    The writ­ing is excel­lent, but the book is not your fast paced vari­ety. The story is nar­rated from the point of view of a teenage girl, the chap­ters begin by reliv­ing the past and end with a journal/diary entry detail­ing the present. While at first this type of nar­ra­tive arrange­ment was strange, it actu­ally worked won­der­fully book and its many themes.

    Even though the book takes place in the near future, the themes which are dealt within it are con­tem­po­rary. Legal age, con­sent, society’s will­ing­ness to tear each other apart, to sac­ri­fice “the oth­ers” for your own moral­ity and our favorite social pas­time: force­fully enforce your jaded morals on the rest.

    When I was first offered to read this book I hes­i­tated, to be hon­est I only accepted because it looked inter­est­ing, I thought my wife would like it as well and because it was long listed for the Man Booker Prize. I’m not usu­ally much for science-fiction and/or dystopian books. I liked The Hunger Games but have yet to read the rest of the series and loved science-fiction as a kid, but haven’t read a sci-fi book in years.

    I am always one to preach that peo­ple should read out of their com­fort zones, yet I rarely fol­low my own advice. And here, the oppor­tu­nity pre­sented itself and I took it.
    Do you know what I found out?
    I was right, not only am I happy I read this book, as it gave me much fod­der to think about after I fin­ished it, but I believe that I am a bet­ter reader for doing so.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 7, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

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