Skinned by Robin Wasserman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What makes you human? The capacity to understand your uniqueness, in comparison with others? Your capacity of abstract thought, free will or to have an opinion? How about learning the use of tools or objects? Maybe have feelings: love-hate-friendship, a name, a gender - or the ability to identify oneself as a person who has the subjective experience of identifying with gender-, exploring senses... Okay, at this point, you know, or could have a better view of what I'm trying to refer to. However, what if all the above were experienced with a body that is not made of flesh, blood and bones? Will this being still be considered human?
These and more questions are asked in Robin Wasserman's Skinned. The premise of this story is about a girl, Lia Khan, who suffered an accident leaving her human body unsalvable. Her brain gets scanned and downloaded in an artificial body. We follow her story and the range of events, emotions and thoughts that occur after this. It is set in a very likely future dystopian world.
I simply loved this book. I was not expecting it at all and gave me lots of food for thought. Specially the bioethical explorations of medical advancements and the preservation of human life at all costs. I wish many more Young Adult fiction stories focused on these philosophical and more mature themes. I admire Robin Wasserman for this; specially after having previously read her The Book of Blood and Shadow: a story that is skillfully told, which begins with a murder.
Skinned's tone is dark, layered with loss and resilience. Interestingly enough you don't entirely like the main character, but you certainly end up trying to understand and sympathize with her.
I am so glad I re-discovered Robin's work! I will certainly look forward to read the next installments of The Cold Awakening trilogy.
The idea of life ad infinitum reminded me of Andy Warhol's soups!