The Humanity Project

Jean Thompson. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-15871-1
Thompson's thoughtful new novel ponders the sins we commit in the name of love and our capacity for compassion. The "detached" life of San Francisco bay area nurse Christie, divorced and in her thirties, is thrown into motion when Mrs. Foster, a wealthy patient, asks her to lead her charity, whose aim is to "benefit humanity" by paying "people to be good." Christie's neighbor, Art, already struggling with adulthood, takes in his troubled teenage daughter, Linnea, after she survives a school shooting in the Midwest. Though her move to California is not the quick fix Linnea's mother had hoped for, Linnea does connect with Conner, a teenage boy from another broken, troubled home, calling their bond an "accidental, lost-in-space collision" and the two of them "a pair of separately damaged goods." The disappearance of Conner's father finally brings these disparate characters together. Thompson (The Year We Left Home) asks what can we actually do to change the lives of others, and investigates the value of good intentions, finding answers in the emotional lives of richly-drawn characters who do what they must–and what they think they must—in order to help the ones they love. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 04/23/2013
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Paperback - 337 pages - 978-0-14-218090-7
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-1-4692-4456-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-4466-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-4547-8
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