Fight Back: A Review of The Unit

I apparently am having a reader craving for something specific, and I’ll keep devouring books until I satisfy it. Maybe – hopefully – it’s in the book I’m writing. Even if that is true, I hope to find it in other people’s works so my reviews here can be more than: it’s just missing some thing, let me tell you what it is. But alas, today is not that day, and The Unit is not that book. Let’s talk about why sticking it to the childless just didn’t really work its magic on me. {Beware the spoilers below.}So some context first. We’re talking Sweden, land of the gender parity. But because they have provided all the means to have a family and have a career/life, the reasons not to, as understood by the majority, have become improper. Eventually those that do not have important jobs or families become labeled dispensable, and at 50 for women and 60 for men (wait, where’s the parity?) go to become human subjects for experiments and sources of organs for needed people. At least until they make a “final donation.”

Good premise. We follow Dorrit from the moment she comes to the unit. She, and the other dispensables, find life and community and love and acceptance in a way that they never found outside. Dorrit falls in love and becomes pregnant (needed) the night before (unbeknownst to her) her true love goes for his final donation. She’s given the key (literally) to escape, and when she exercises that power, it is for a simple walk outside. Her child is adopted, and she finishes her story the night before her own final donation.

Yeah. Potential and not actualized.

Maybe this is a generation thing. But all of these people are so alone in their lives, and in an age where the Internet exists and groups and communities for every kind of interest.

Maybe this is a feminism thing. But she has no fight in her. She is so cozy in the patriarchal relationship she finds herself in to the point of loving what to this reader was a sexual assault. Fine. People are all kinds of different and interesting and want and need different things.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing. But people fight. They undermine and push against and make daily revolutions. These people, even the most vocal ones, seemed so distracted by the ease of living there, they forgot to save their own lives. But that was not the story. That might have been satisfied my craving. A delayed revolution, because today they are having yoga in the garden. I can get behind that kind of absurdity.

But this acceptance of the mundane and the cozy by a people trained by hard lives to scratch their survival out of whatever was before them, that I just couldn’t accept. The world happens to her, and she takes a stroll. At least run.


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