Unwind is finally a YA novel that packs a serious moral punch. It delves into the idea of life and death - discussing such ideas as abortion and euthanasia through a plot which could be seen as ethically allegorical in its own right. Yet, even despite this being a novel which relies on its deep concept, this novel is still an entertaining read.
It is a concept that many people scoff at in regards to books like this. How could a story about teenagers being killed (the same argument goes for The Hunger Games) be seen as entertainment? Is that not a psychopathic form of enjoyment? Is it not a form of cultural desensitisation? Perhaps. But at the same time it is part of the way in which the themes of these books are truly conveyed. I could write three essays about what I believe in regards to the topics of abortion, euthanasia, life, death and childhood but those three essays would not be as likely to stick into the hearts or minds of the reader as much as a clever and profound story or metaphor would.
That is why books like this are entertaining, because it helps them to be memorable. And so despite this concept of teenagers being 'unwound' from the age of thirteen - removing the need for abortion - and all their body parts being kept alive for transplants, this is an entertaining book. The more important note is, however, that this is a motivating and insightful book.
Whatever side of the debate you are on regarding such issues as abortion I doubt that anyone is truly advocating for the death of humanity. This is something hidden by labels such as a pro-life and pro-choice, the differences between the two labels indicating that one side seems to favour death and the other life. The question becomes more one of convenience, whose death and the ages old question of 'when does the soul begin to exist'. It is rather ridiculous that we keep fighting over such things rather than work out ways to save lives, but human differences have always caused division more than human similarity. It is these ridiculous and contradictory concepts that Neal Shusterman looks into in this novel.
No matter your own views (and for the sake of avoiding an argument I do not intend to share mine here) this is a compelling novel. The delivery of the novel is a touch awkward in the writing, but the concept is excellent and it is generally the concept, more than the execution that remains with me from any novel. So I encourage others to give this a read and ask themselves the difficult questions about what they believe and what basis they have for believing this.