Monday, September 22, 2014

Perfected by Kate Jarvick Birch

Ella is a loyal pet to a wealthy congressman's family. She was bred in an elite kennel to bring happiness to her family who chose her specifically. She will be well taken care of in her new role as companion to Ruby, the youngest member of the family. Oh, Ella is human being.

It is not explained how the United States reached the point where genetically bred humans can be pets (to those who can afford them). We know the congressman was behind the legislation and feels obligate (so he says) to have one. He is always proud to show Ella off to important people.

Ella is our narrator and expresses her naivete about the real world (so many things were never explained in her proper education). Although she can play the piano exquisitely, she knows nothing of swimming, candy and romantic attraction. Being 16, it is only natural that she would have feelings toward, Penn, the congressman's son. She is, after all, only human.

Yes, owning humans is wrong. Keeping them as pets raises a whole myriad of questions - like what happens when they get older? What if there is a sexual attraction? And what if it is acted on? This story does not delve too deeply into these issues - just enough to raise the questions on how we view the value of individual freedom and how we treat others (including our animal pets).

For awhile, Ella seems content, but maybe she just doesn't know any better.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.


  1. Wow... this sounds pretty intense! I'll be interested to read this and see how Birch addresses slavery in this context. I'm intrigued by your connection of the story to the way we treat our animal pets, and I hope that's seriously considered in the novel.

    1. I hope you are not disappointed. Thanks for reading.