Author: Rachel Heng
Title: Suicide Club
Plot: Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.
But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.
I received Suicide Club from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I was a little dubious starting Suicide Club, uncertain of the topic in question. But the premise caught my eye and I agreed to review it, so I curled up with a blanket, opened it up and started reading.
The title alone should reveal this needs a trigger warning. There is a lot of talk of suicide, and the reasons people have for not wanting to live extended lives (I’m talking into the hundreds, with the possibility of immortality). If this is a sensitive topic, this book should be avoided.
But if you stick with it, it’s quite a rewarding book. It’s not about people just wanting to end things. It’s about what we are living for, what is important. Is it all about preservation, being perfectly healthy, composed, dedicated without going too far; the perfect balance? Or is it about forbidden thrills: the taste of chocolate, taking a train knowing walking is healthier, racing for the fun of it despite it being a potential muscle risk? Where’s the line between being a healthy version of yourself, and being happy?
She stared at the ice cream, melting in her hands, dripping between her fingers, and took another greedy bite. The cloying sweetness was almost too much to bear, almost sour in its intensity, like a forgotten secret.
Lea thought she had it all: a partner, the perfect health balance that puts her into consideration for the “third wave” of modifications that will allow her to become immortal. But when her absent father returns, Lea is thrust into a world where being perfect isn’t important: being true to yourself and, if possible, being happy, is more important than following the government’s guidelines.
Anja’s mother is dying…but unable to pass over due to the modifications keeping her going. By becoming part of the notorious Suicide Club, Anja is able to help those who want to escape the existence forced upon them for population control.
When Lea and Anja meet, they find friendship and a bond in each other. By each other’s side, both women may have the strength to do what needs to be done.
For the most part, this is quite an uplifting story. It’s easy to read and you get swept up in it. It makes you think though. For the first part, I was considering that I should make the point of eating healthily, how my decisions affect my body and what that means in the long-run. But, not even halfway through, you instead start thinking about doing what makes you happy. I do like the idea of people realising working fewer hours is far more beneficial to our health and productivity than long hours in the office though.
One part near the end surprised me though; one scene is particularly violent and made me cringe reading the description.
I adored the writing quality: there were so many clever phrases slipped in. The one sticking with me most is people walking on glass ceilings; the limitations we consider now no longer exist; people can do anything in this futuristic world, as long it they are perfectly healthy.
Suicide Club sticks with you, and makes you think about what is important. A recommendation, for those who can.