Monday, February 11, 2008

Star Split...random thoughts

When I wrote my review (and yes, I use that term loosely) of The Giver, I said that we were using it for homeschooling. I mentioned that it would bring up opportunities to explore topics such as euthanasia and genetic engineering. Jean was kind enough to suggest that we might want to check out Star Split by Kathryn Lasky as an additional read involving genetic engineering. I'd never heard of the book, but I immediately requested it through inter-library loan...and am I ever glad I did.

Thirteen-year-old Darci had always taken for granted the wisdom of genetic engineering. It is the basis of her whole society. The privileged, Genhants, engineer their children choosing the traits they most desire. Umbellation (cloning), however, is the ultimate crime and is punishable by death, except in the elevated circumstances dictated by the government. Darci, quite by accident, discovers that she has an umbula (clone), and her world starts unraveling.

This book is by no means an example of exquisite prose, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Obviously, the issues of genetic engineering and cloning are prominent, but there were also some fascinating discussions on dead languages and the meaning of words. And I'm definitely looking forward to discussing the whole concept of a person's soul with Annie after she reads this book.

So, thank you, Jean...you were right (like there was ever any doubt), this book was the perfect complement.

9 comments:

Carl V. said...

Sounds very interesting. That is one I haven't heard of, at all.

3M said...

I'll have to check that out, thanks!

Jean said...

I had forgotten about the dead languages component, but yes! that will make it even more interesting for Annie. To give others an idea of that, suppose people in the future discovered the Bible (or a classic work of literature) on CD, but the CD had been corrupted so that words or even parts of words were missing. How might they reconstruct the document or figure out the meaning of a word? Very interesting to think about.

Kim L said...

I haven't heard of that book, but it sounds interesting. I'll have to add it to the list.

A big favorite of mine is The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. It is a pretty dark book, and there is a lot of good discussion points in it about cloning and genetic engineering. Also, it is just an amazing read. Now that I thought of that one, I really should reread it.

Debi said...

Kim-

Annie told me I really need to read that one, too, after our discussions on cloning. I actually think I have it on a challenge list, but I'm even more anxious to get to it now.

cj said...

You know, I can't remember ever really discussing a book with my mom. I wish I had. I envy you and Annie that part of your relationship.

The book does sound interesting and I've put it on my TBR list.

cjh

Kim L said...

debi-it is a fantastic read. One of those books you finish and you are just in awe of the fact that someone managed to write all of that! I look forward to hearing what you think about it!

jpderosnay said...

i hadn't heard of it either - but it sounds like it'd be very thought provoking for annie!

Anonymous said...

I read this book, and frankly, its a piece of crap! it doesn't make any sense and could be shorter... in my opinion, don't ever, EVER read this book...