Top critical review
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Let down by the author's squeamishness.
on 21 August 2007
Initially I was extremely taken with this book - it has an interesting premise and engages with a strong ethical dilemma which makes for compelling story-telling. The strength of this story is that it is based within a relatively untouched field for public ethical debate and so using family based fiction as a vehicle to begin this debate is very powerful.
What stops this being a great book is that the author herself does not seem able to deal with the logical consequences of her story - the drama works its way through, and there are winners and losers - it's a very sad dilemma, and there isn't an easy solution - but the book should have ended leaving a bitter feeling in the mouth - that's what makes ethical choices so hard - in choosing what is morally right, sometimes someone else has to lose out. Instead the author cops out and wraps up the whole unsettling situation with a tearful twist. She ultimately ducks the issue that sometimes living with the consequences of moral decisions is bitter and should make the reader uncomfortable: finding out how the characters continued to live together would have made this an outstanding story - as it stands there's something unsatisfactory about such a tidy ending,