Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Perfect People by Peter James

Perfect People is a very different kind of book than the Roy Grace mystery series based in Brighton by Peter James. I read two Roy Grace novels last year and liked it. Perfect People takes us into the realm of genetic engineering, its possibilities and practicalities.

After John and Naomi lose their three year old child to a hereditary illness, the couple decide to visit Dr.Dettore, the genetic engineering expert and modern Frankenstein, to have a child without the faulty gene. They pay all there life savings and borrow from Naomi's mother and sister. After paying the huge amount, when Dr.Dettore offers to remove all disease bearing genes of either parent for their not yet born, John and Naomi readily agree. After all this effort, they don't want their baby to die of some other hereditary illness. Makes sense? When Dr. Dettore offers to make the child do well with less sleep, Noami is not interested. What about flight or fight response, isn't it stone age response? John and Naomi do not want a designer baby or a freak. They just want normal, healthy, Okay, a tall boy, nothing more.

Who is bothered about eye coulor, skin colour and hair colour? The 'designer babies' of future would be designed for optimum survival. Would it be fair to opt out of this? Would you rather have your children be a genetic underclass? After all we want to give our children the best, don't we? Would we stop the benefits reagrding genes? Don't we not want to give them the best genes? Argues Dr.Dettore.

Interesting plot and scenario. Naomi is so believable, one moment a loving mother, in another a raging woman. John the perfect foil for her. And one moment of indiscretion can really ruin your life, Naomi and John's life descends into a nightmare. After a point it was all so surreal, I understand that there is no other way this story can proceed.

I can't believe that Naomi or John are not already aware of her "abnormality". This is her second pregnancy, how come doctors missed the first time, or even during the second time. Dr.Dottore looks like a thorough man, can't believe he missed it or the other doctor they met later. There are other such small quibbles, but lets not bother about it.

Peter James creates an interesting scenario and brings out not only the ethical issues but also the practical issues of such genetic manipulation. What would happen if your children are more clever than you are? How are you going to answer their questions, provide them with necessary stimulation? And also the problems of entering into unknown territory. How would genetic engineering effect the quality and quantity of our lives? Perfect People are possible but are they desirable. Perfect thriller read.


Rachel said...

This book is being considered for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize (though it sort of stands out as not the same as the other nominated books). Regardless, I'll be reading it as soon as it's released in the US. Who knows when that will be, though? Good to see a review!

srivalli said...

It is interesting that Perfect People is in the longlist for Wellcome Trust Book Prize. Hope you get to read it soon, wold love to know your thoughts on this books. Thanks for stopping by!