Saturday, May 5, 2012

Forbidden Memories by Jamila Gavin

In a few months I will attend the IBBY Congress in London so I am trying to read as many books as I can by some of the major speakers. I started this week with a book I have loved for years and years – Forbidden Memories by Jamila Gavin. Several decades ago there was a movie called Logan’s Run – Forbidden Memories has a similar theme as does The Giver by Lois Lowry and The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

The world has been destroyed and people have been forced to set up a new society underground or in a dome far removed from the surface of the earth. In Forbidden Memories, as in the other books I have mentioned, the government controls all aspects of citizens' lives. Babies are raised for specific occupations and roles in the community. In Forbidden Memories we read “The dome controlled everything; it decided who should be born, how, when and with what genes. From the egg bank, the determiners selected future citizens for the different zones and fertilized them to be thinkers, artists, wealth creators and operators, adding or manipulating genes as necessary.”

Sasha and Devi are twins.  They have been raised as an experiment and so they are under extra scrutiny. Devi will become a scientist and Sasha will be a dancer. The story opens on separation day. Their childhood is over and the girls will not meet again until Regeneration Day which happens every ten years but Devi has a plan. She has made sure the girls can still communicate via their thoughts. This is highly illegal and dangerous but they are desperate to stay connected. Chapter two opens one hundred years later. It is once again Regeneration Day and Devi is excited to be seeing Sasha. Regeneration is like a car service with all sorts of new parts added so that the aging process is all but eliminated in this world but this time the regeneration goes horribly wrong. Devi sees an image of the sky and she transmits it to Sasha during the process. Mind pictures are forbidden. Sasha is immediately taken away to be decommissioned. Devi must now race to save her sister and in the process she will discover the truth about the Dome and about the Earth outside.

This is an old book. It is a very short novel with only 80 pages but it is such a powerful and thought provoking story. It is in my school library and I do hope it is in yours.

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