Lullaby by Bernard Beckett
Published May 27, 2015 by Text Publishing
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars
From the blurb: Rene’s twin brother Theo lies unconscious in hospital after a freak accident left him with massively disrupted brain function. There is hope, though. An experimental procedure—risky, scientifically exciting and ethically questionable—could allow him to gain a new life.
But what life, and at what cost?
Only Rene can give the required consent. And now he must face that difficult choice.
But first there is the question of Rene’s capacity to make that decision. And this is where the real story begins.
Lullaby, by New Zealand author Bernard Beckett, is set in an unspecified future. Eighteen year old Rene is talking to a hospital psychologist, Maggie, and they have six hours to talk before she must decide if he is competent enough to make the decision to save Theo’s life. Theo’s brain is severely damaged but his body is intact. Scientists are working on a way to scan a brain for memories and then implant those into another brain. They wish to use Rene and Theo in an experiment and are hoping Rene will allow it.
This was a very interesting book and it definitely captured my full attention. Rene starts off trying to be smart and funny, hoping to impress Maggie and sway her judgement, but eventually he begins to share the details of his life with Theo. We learn about their parents death, their games as children, their school years, and the girls they liked and loved. It was clear there was once a really strong bond between the two of them that began to weaken as they grew older.
Listening to Rene was heartbreaking, he feels like his world is ending and that he is to blame. I enjoyed his interactions with Maggie and thought I was pretty sure of the decision he would make. The pacing was perfect, by the end the urgency and importance of the situation was palpable.
I stopped taking notes as I read because I became so absorbed with the story, but I do remember moments of surprise and the twists were unexpected, though the ending was not. It’s a book that left me wanting a little more.
Lullaby is a captivating, clever, and unique story, and I recommend it to any YA or adult reader.
Thank you to Text Publishing for my review copy.