Nicole Hewitt's Reviews > Birthmarked

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
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Sep 17, 2011

liked it

Overall, I enjoyed this book. If I could have given it a 3 1/2, I would have.

I liked that it managed to be a cautionary tale about the effects of global warming without hitting you over the head with the message. The crux of the story revolves around what happens when the survival of the human race is at stake. How far should government go in the name of helping "the many" at the expense of the few. I liked the fact that, while the protagonist (and the author) have a definite viewpoint, both sides of the issue are presented and there are sympathetic characters with mixed feelings about what can and should be done. After reading the book you could understand why the government wants to implement its plan - I found myself thinking that it might even be necessary - but the methods are all wrong.

A few things that I bothered me about the book - The main conflict is caused by the fact that the government didn't keep birth records, which seems very implausible. The explanation given for why they didn't keep the records and for why they couldn't get the information themselves didn't really cut it for me. People were dying to keep these records secret instead of fighting for them to be used in a way that would benefit everyone - it seemed to me that they were fighting the wrong battles.

One last thing that bothered me personally was the negative view of adoption that was presented. The author presented the idea that allowing adoption naturally evolved into the government forcing good parents to give up their children. As an adoptive mom, this negative portrayal of adoption bothered me a bit.

Still, overall, I enjoyed the book and I will read the next in the series. It's wonderful to read a book that makes you think and doesn't give pat answers - this book succeeded in that.
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