Book Review: The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Strikes Out With Heavy Hand)

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This is the first of two books I read that involved pregnancy as choice in a world opposed, which caused me to suspect, particularly with Jessie Lamb, that it was written as a sort of dystopian notion of a world where full bodily autonomy for women has resulted in catastrophic events that only a sacrificial pregnancy can set right. Extremely heavy-handed beginning with our character’s name, which is the sort of foreshadowing handled with a sledgehammer and blinding spotlights, this author seems unwilling to let us draw any conclusions on our own, so things are structured in such a way that it feels almost like you’ve gotten on a ride with clear instructions not to reach out of your seat or look behind you, etc. I really don’t mind a different viewpoint, but the clumsiness of this book suggest a zealous agenda that isn’t exploring so much as demanding. Additionally, particularly given that this is marketed as Young Adult, the relationship between Jessie and her father is extremely disturbing, violent and abusive, yet framed as if it is ultimately excusable—again suggesting that the author has a very extreme agenda more than a strong story concept.  Ultimately unsatisfying. 2 stars.

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