Book Review: And Again

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And Again

Jessica Chiarella

Touchstone

320 pages

This is the fictional story of four adults who have been chosen to participate in the SUB Life program. Essentially, they are all dying and they are all given a cloned version of themselves.

Connie is an actress who has faded away from the limelight after being diagnosed with a vicious strain of HIV five years ago. Linda has been a vegetable for the past 8 years after being involved in a car accident. She has been conscious the entire time but paralyzed from the nose down. David is a congressman This is the fictional story of four adults who have been chosen to participate in the SUB Life program. Essentially, they are all dying and they are all given a cloned version of themselves.

Connie is an actress who has faded away from the limelight after being diagnosed with a vicious strain of HIV five years ago. Linda has been a vegetable for the past 8 years after being involved in a car accident. She has been conscious the entire time but paralyzed from the nose down. David is a congressman that is suffering from a malignant brain tumor. Last but not least, Hannah is the youngest, an artist that has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The actual SUB Life program isn’t really a developed part of the story. I think it would have been an interesting part of the story if Chiarella had gone into detail about the program. As it is, all the reader is really told is that the four participants have a new body grown for them. Not much is known about the effects that the four will endure in their new bodies, and since it is a new program, they are learning as they go.

Because these are brand new bodies that don’t have the experience and wherewithal of a body that has been around thirty or forty years, there are certain things that don’t come as naturally as they did before. Hannah has been an artist her entire life, but although she still sees the world as she did before her operation, she is no longer able to translate that into art. They also have to relearn acquired taste, literally. They all learn this the hard way when they go for their first cup of coffee.

This book posed so many questions, and I found myself thinking that it would be a great book club choice. I found all four stories intriguing and was curious to see how it would continue. It is not the type of book that wraps up neatly, and it left me wondering how all four characters were getting along months and years after the ending. They were all very flawed but recognized that part of themselves, and I liked that aspect a lot.

The ending wasn’t clear for any of them, because although it was a year after the procedure, they all four were struggling to figure things out. I catch myself wondering how their stories progressed after the book ended.

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