Friday, October 10, 2008

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

When seventeen-year-old Jenna wakes from a coma, it is like she is being born for the first time. She doesn't walk right, speak right, and most disturbingly, she doesn't remember things right. The definitions of simple words escape her. She can't dredge any emotion for the people she calls Mother and Father, two people who seem desperate that their daughter just "go back to normal." On the flipside, the woman who is her grandmother, Lily, obviously hates her and wants nothing to do with her. But why? As Jenna watches video of her life, she begins to learn more about the person who was Jenna Fox, the Jenna Fox from before the terrible accident that her parents refuse to speak of. These video are of her but can she really be the same person if she doesn't remember? Then, slowly, Jenna does begin to remember, but imperfectly. And soon things get really disturbing. Why can Jenna remember her own baptism as a two-week old baby but not the names and faces of her best friends? Is something essential in her gone forever?

Such a great book with so many questions to consider. Namely, what is identity? What makes us, us? Or, even deeper, what comprises the soul? And, as the cover of the book asks, "How far would you go to save someone you love?" Medical ethics are a huge part of this novel, which is set in the not-too-distant future, a future that the author convincingly creates, one I accepted as wholly realistic as I read the book. The world the author has crafted is a believable extension of the world we live in now and that is a big part of why this book works so well. This could easily be our civilization in a few years, and the kinds of questions Jenna Fox raises are ones we may well have to face ourselves.

I picked up The Adoration of Jenna Fox because it was on our Mock Printz Award list. I figured it would be pretty good since I'd already read A Room on Lorelei Street, one of the author's earlier books, which had also been on a Mock list. I'd liked Lorelei Street but I was blown away by The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Or in other words: read this!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glendale! We're practically neighbors! I'm so glad you enjoyed JENNA, Karen. Thanks for the nice review!

Mary (in San Diego)