Perfected - Kate Jarvik Birch

I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

Perfection horrified me and captivated me at the same time. Reading about human beings bred and trained as pets was like a train wreck I couldn't look away from - you know it's wrong to look, but you can't stop yourself. My thoughts kept looping back to the same thing - I hope nothing like this ever ends up happening in real life! I'd reassure myself it could never happen just as something would happen in the story, making me worry all over again. 

I immediately felt these girls were viewed no differently from dogs. They're called "pets", come from a place called a kennel, are "bred", "trained" to be obedient, and aren't even given real names. They're given a number as a name until they're bought! I also thought about this arrangement basically being a new kind of slavery - these girls are bought and sold as though they're a piece of property. 

These girls are showpieces, living a life of luxury without hardships, at least that's what they've been taught during their training. They aren't expected to work, so the problems Ella soon faces are more emotional. She can't read, can't swim, has never been outside much, never been taught anything about kissing, never read fiction. So much has been denied her - even music. She listened to classical and opera but has missed out on so many other genres. Several times I wanted to cry for her. 

Ella wasn't prepared for the life she must now lead. The things she was taught during her "training" sometimes are the opposite of what her owners want from her. The Congressman was outright creepy. Ruby was just too young to understand how wrong this is. The Congressman's wife wasn't likable because she's not fond of Ella, but I can't blame her for her bitterness. She has a dolt for a husband. And she's none too happy about aging. How would you feel if you were fifty, and your husband brought home a sixteen-year-old he was obviously lusting after? You wouldn't be nice, that's for sure. 

Perfection gave me much to think about - what it means to be human, the consequences of technology, and the value of human life. There's sadness but also hope in this novel. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough - this novel caught me and wouldn't let go. And these are all the reasons I love reading - to think, to experience, and to feel.