Chip Joyce's Reviews > Living Proof

Living Proof by Kira Peikoff
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M_50x66
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Dec 22, 11

Read in December, 2011

"Living Proof" presents a not-to-distant, and believable, world in which Christian fundamentalists have influenced government policy and created a new dark ages in science--specifically with respect to pregnancy and embryonic stem cell research. There are government agencies that subject each pregnant woman to rights-violating control in order to dictate what she does to her body, treating her like a slave because she is carrying a fetus that has more rights than she.

Fertility clinics are subjected to searches without warrant, and doctors face first degree murder charges if they fail to preserve embryos properly. There is a total ban on embryonic stem cell research, preventing the discovery of life saving procedures. The Christian notion of cell masses having a soul--the premise of the "right to life" movement--has created a terrifying police state.

The story creates a stark reality: this supposedly love-driven desire to be "pro-life" is actually a freedom and life-destroying movement, a modern day Inquisition, and the enforcers are just as evil. If you are sympathetic to this view, you'll really enjoy how this story concretizes what such a world would be like. If you are "pro-life" or sympathetic to that position, hopefully you'll have enough honesty to contemplate the logical implications presented in this story.

The novel has a tight plot: a life-and-death race against time, both as character Dr. Arianna Drake and colleagues try to save her from a terminal disease, and the police state hell-bent on imprisoning them. The conflict is with a man torn between his religious precepts and commitment to the law, versus his love and desire to help save the doctor's life.

Despite its serious subject matter and ideological ramifications, and it being steeped in reproductive and stem cell science, it's fast-paced and easy reading: it can definitely be enjoyed on the beach, as I did. It takes skill to pull off a balance between thought-provoking ideas and pleasure reading, and I think it's very impressive, especially considering this is Kira Peikoff's first novel. I look forward to her future works.
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