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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
Kristen Tsetsi has done the most frightening thing any artist can do by taking a current threat to human rights and following it to a logical conclusion in The Age of the Child. Katherine wouldn’t be pregnant if birth control weren’t illegal. She wouldn’t be trying every means to induce a miscarriage if abortion hadn’t been criminalised. She wouldn’t be telling her husband that she’s pregnant if the law hadn’t just changed to regard all miscarriages as potential murders. Less than fifty years later, Millie is desperate to fall pregnant. She’ll lie to the Parent Licensing Board, and have hackers deactivate the hormones in her sub dermal chip if she has to. Millie will do anything and everything to get what she wants.
The Age of the Child essentially tells two stories; the first part is dedicated to Katherine while part two focuses on Millie. Katherine’s desperation drips from the pages of The Age of the Child, her plight so sympathetic that one cannot help but feel for her. While Millie’s desires juxtapose Katherine’s, Tsetsi also incorporates a subtle argument into Millie’s story that I did not see coming at all. What makes The Age of the Child stand out is Tsetsi’s illumination of how the fictional pro-life movement in the book ultimately causes a complete devaluing of life through its stance. The children suffer the most in this novel as fear of the law forces unwilling people to be parents. Small, but imaginative details, such as the government database for infertile people, provide significant depth to the world building and social environment. The Age of the Child packages important social commentary in a moving story.