I never take the synopsis from the cover of a book but, alas, there is a first time for everything. First book I’ve read by Crichton and so the first time I’ll let the jacket speak for the pages before I do:
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction – is it worse than the disease?
We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it’s possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.
We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-counry because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes…
The format of this book is pretty interesting. Lots of very short chapters, each from different character’s perspectives and ALL make some point relevant to the above ideals by the end. Admittedly I found it a bit tiring about a third of the way in as I really have a thing about having a sense of where a story is going instead of something akin to what Heller dealt out in Catch – 22; but it got there. Shortly after that irritation set in I was taken on a ride I couldn’t stop, nor did I want to. I needed to know. Part of this is absolutely driven by my passionate views against the patenting of genes for reasons the book actually gets into and another was just the curiosity of how it all winds up connecting.
As with so many books by darlings of the publishing industry there are things that ultimately, for the story, didn’t need to be in there HOWEVER all of the material went to make a point and boy were those points illuminating. The prose is very simplistic and not at all literary, he tells instead of shows, takes us out of points of view to explain the scientific stuff many people probably don’t know (myself included) and still his thoughts are critical, arguments are sound and at no point does it feel as though he’s preaching. So curious about what he had included in the work I actually read through all the Author’s Notes in the back and can assure you it is something one should endeavor to do.
It’s what I would consider to be intellectual pop fiction. It asks the reader to question and think about some things they might otherwise not and that, in my opinion, is always worth a read.