Never Let Me Go is the most recent book that I have read. I came upon it while looking for sci-fi novels; it came up in a couple top ten lists. I figured I would check it out since it looked like there was a lot of hype around it. Turns out that was probably because of the movie that came out about the book, but that’s beside the point.
This novel follows the life of Kathy. Kathy and many other children are all raised in what seems like a boarding school, from adolescence until their late teens. As it turns out all of these children are clones. This isn’t made immediately clear in the book either. So as you begin reading the book you know that something is different, but it’s hard to place a finger on what.
There are many descriptions of the teacher’s behavior as the children get closer to leaving the school. They are referred to as “guardians” because that’s essentially what they are, the legal guardians of these clones, but they come off more as teachers than guardians. When a new guardian shows up at the school things get shaken up a little bit. Her name is Miss Lucy and she doesn’t seem to have it all together. She ends up telling the students in Kathy’s class what their fate is and gets fired because of it. She tells the students to stop dreaming about the things they can become after school, their whole purpose in life is to stay healthy so their organs can be harvested.
So essentially what happens here is when a normal child is born, a clone is made just one that is grown in a lab and that cannot sexually reproduce. These clones are then raised like cattle, but rather than getting unhealthily overweight they are not allowed to smoke, drink, and must stay fit. Once the human they were cloned from becomes sick and is dying, which in this reality always happens fairly quickly, whatever organ the human needs is removed from the clone. This happens multiple times until the clone eventually passes away.
The boarding school that Kathy was raised in was one of the few exceptions to the norm, these clones were treated like the humans they undoubtedly were. It apparently wasn’t seen that way in the world Kathy was from. Regular humans were frightened by the clones. How can something that was grown in a lab have a soul?
This novel brings up a lot of good questions and in particular makes me wonder about the topic of what is a human. Just because these clones aren’t born like humans are and can’t reproduce doesn’t mean they’re not human. They bleed, feel, and think just like regular people do. In the book Kathy’s boarding school was taking the artwork done by the children to show the world that these clones had souls just like you and me.
This book also reminded me about the time that I was handed a pamphlet on High Street which was publicizing the organ harvesting going on in China. Apparently, people are being kidnapped and their organs are just being removed and sold. It was pretty disgusting to see that this was happening. It was a pamphlet with the prices for organs sold on the black market, very similar to this image.