By Raoul Wientzen
Arcade Publishing, $24.95, 334 pages
Jess is born with multiple birth defects including missing her thumbs. The doctors rally to her care and her parents show undivided love to their baby. Raoul Wientzen’s The Assembler of Parts allows eight-year-old Jess to narrate this unique story. In part one the reader follows the family in Jess’s daily care, as well as, learning some history about Cassidy, the brother who deals with death of his loved ones and wallows in alcohol. Cassidy has a special relationship with Jess, though. Actually almost anyone that knows Jess loves her. In part two, when Jess suddenly dies, Jess takes on the role of observer and wonders what the purpose of her life really was. The Assembler shows her “tapes” so that she can gain an understanding of all events past and present. Her parents hire a law firm once they realize how doctor’s errors led to Jess’s death. In part three, the court case culminates in some surprising events that lead Jess to truth and understanding after all.
“I wonder, as I see myself playing with light, did He make me a little imperfect to preserve me from some greater imperfection?”
Wientzen writes an impressive, thoughtful debut novel. This reviewer quickly got immersed in the medical details coupled with the family complications. The characters really jumped from the pages, especially in the parenting classroom scenes. This is a thought-provoking book, which will haunt you long after you have read the last page.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff