BLUEPRINT by Charlotte Kerner


Age Range: 12 - 14
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Siri is the daughter/twin of Iris and one of the first cloned beings in this seamless translation of German author Kerner’s exploration of the psychological reality for cloned humans. A famous pianist and composer, Iris discovers she has Multiple Sclerosis and decides that a child/clone will ensure her immortality. She talks a geneticist into creating the first human clone by implanting her with her own cloned cell. As time goes by, the pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence of Siri are described almost solely focused on the emotional impact of the impossible closeness and the antagonism of the blended egos. Games of “Iyou” and “YouI” become increasingly painful as the child separates from the parent, whose monstrous egotism continues to expect an alternative self for her own use. There is much musing from Siri, who recounts her life in beautifully cadenced and expressive prose. Upon Iris’s death there is a miraculous transformation in Siri’s life that seems pulled out of thin air and not from Siri’s psyche. Until that epilogue the story maintains a steady, wearying descent into frustration and despair at never being loved for who you are, never quite knowing what is your own doing and what is compelled by your genetic code. It is never clear how much of her pain is the result of cloning and how much the result of Iris’s ego. Observers of this “monster,” as she is called by her grandmother, may debate the ethical questions, ponder the personal dilemmas, and imagine alternative responses, but they will not question the premise. Disturbing and unsettling, this is less a translation of a particular culture than a human face on a question that is intriguing worldwide. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8225-0080-9
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Lerner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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