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Reader’s Corner: Breed by Chase Novak

So we’ve got a well-to-do couple, Alex of old money and a powerful law firm, Leslie of youth and beauty (relative to him), living in posh New York City. Perfect lives, except for their inexplicable inability to have a child.

To be fair, I find the whole ‘any-means-necessary’ approach to biological procreation distasteful for a number of reasons. And my pre-existing opinions on the matter might explain why I read the entire book with a certain amount of dread. Not that anticipatory, excited fear that comes with walking through a haunted house, waiting for the monster to leap around the corner but knowing there’s no real danger kind, but the skin-crawling, holy-shit-is-that-huge-guy-following-me-across-the-dark-and-deserted-parking-lot kind. In other words, every page of this novel creeped me the hell out.

That might have been the author’s intent; in which case, Bravo!

The children, of course, were sympathetic, but the parents, whose desperation and sense of entitlement led them to this horrific mess, were much less so. The author attempted to set Leslie apart from her narcissistic brethren by showing an ineffective and last minute disinclination to undergo the treatment, as well as her profound unhappiness and shock at her altered body (and I’m not talking about normal pregnancy changes either). He even tries to make her a hero of sorts at the end by portraying the so-called doctor, whose techniques made all of this possible, as an unrepentant opportunist. Was he? Sure. But that doesn’t absolve the adults who leaped in with both feet and piles of money, all because they had to pass on their genetic material. The victims, of course, are the children, but at least as far as our protagonists are concerned, they got a reasonably happy ending. Even though they’ll still need years of therapy.

 


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