Chauncey's Reviews > Bumped

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
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Oct 07, 11


Summary: This book calls to mind Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," except that "Bumped" is simpler, and the characters are less well-developed. The plot is set in a world in which young girls are often contracted to have babies by couples who have been rendered infertile by a virus called HPSV. The main characters are twin sisters, separated into different families at birth, who have been raised in contrasting circumstances. Harmony has been raised to be a traditional mother-figure and wife, while Melody is prepared to "bump" for money and bear a child for a rich couple. Harmony, in order to save her sister from her sinful fate, takes her place and finds herself "bumping" with a young man called Jondoe. Melody, meanwhile, falls in love with her good friend, Zen, who is not considered a good match by society's standards.

Personal Reaction: I didn't like this book very much, for several reasons. First of all, the names are ridiculous. Twins called Harmony and Melody? That's just too Disney for me. Likewise, a strange man named Jondoe is silly. Secondly, I felt that the author, through her celebration of Harmony's family life and repeated references to Melody's "sinful" ways, spent too much time proselytizing Christianity. I'll find my religion somewhere besides YA Lit, thank you. Finally, the character development seemed thin. Bearing babies for strangers as a means of self-support would be an emotional minefield, and it just doesn't seem that the characters in the book react to it in a genuine way. I won't be reading the sequel.

Classroom extension: I wouldn't use this book in my own classroom, but for someone who did, I'd suggest an activity that encourages students to research other novels and plays involving twins who switch places as a way to solve their problems. (There are many great examples, including several from Shakespeare.) I would have the students compare the motives of each set of twins and the outcomes of their deception.

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