Sunday, March 11, 2018

Review: We Care For You by Paul Kitcatt

We Care For You
Author:  Paul Kitcatt
Publisher:  Unbound Digital, November 14, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages
Price:  US$20.47 (print); US$2.99 (Kindle eBook)
ISBN:  9781911586296 (print); ASIN:  B077H4LGHK (eBook)

Margaret Woodruff is slowly dying in a care home. When her son is presented with the chance of exceptional care in her final months, he finds the offer hard to resist.

Winifred is assigned to Margaret’s care. She’s a Helper: a new kind of carer that’s capable, committed and completely tireless – because she’s a synthetic human being.

Under Winifred’s care Margaret’s health improves beyond everyone’s expectations, and Winifred begins to learn from Margaret what it means to be alive. After all, she has a lifetime of experience to pass on – and in a world where youth is the ultimate prize, perhaps it takes a robot to recognise the value of old age.

But how will Winifred use what she learns from Margaret – and what does she truly want from her?

Melanie's Thoughts

I wasn't entirely sure what I was expecting when I requested We Care for You by Paul Kitcatt from NetGalley. I was immediately drawn to the cover which didn't really do the contents justice. Inside is a reflection on life, love and the quest for knowledge.

The first few chapters were very poignant for me. The elderly Margaret, who is slowly fading away in a nursing home, who can't feed herself and who doesn't recognise her son John reminded me of my own Mom. There were so many similarities between this character and my own Mom that I found it a challenging read at the start. However, when Winnifred the Helper comes into the story all similarities faded away

The owners of Evergreen Care Home, the nursing home in which Margaret lives, believe they have solved the problems of an aging population. They introduce synthetic humans to take over roles normally carried out by humans with the aim of improving the quality of life of their charges. Winnifred and her fellow Helpers look and act completely human - they look like humans, they sound like humans and they almost act like humans. The perfect workforce for manual tasks as they don't need to sleep, take breaks or get paid. Evergreen Care Home has turned into a veritable old aged utopia with the introduction of the Helpers. Every resident now has a dedicated Helper to take care of them and ensure they have the best life possible. Life takes a big change when nanobots are introduced into the elderly residents, curing their illness and handicaps, returning them to healthy active lives.

At first, Margaret feels that she has woken from a hazy dream as she comes out of the fugue of dementia. Winnifred has brought so much to her life. She now recognises her son John and can laugh and play with her grandchildren but it almost seems too good to be true. Winnifred looks human and acts human but isn't really....she isn't really alive. She wants to be though and Margaret and the other patients in the care home may provide the one thing that they need the most.

It's not until the very final chapters when this tale turns a bit more sinister and the ending was chilling indeed. Kitcatt combined a very personal story and layered on a bit of Bladerunner combined with Star Trek's The Borg. This is Kitcatt's first novel and I really enjoyed it even though it made me quite sad in parts. I will look forward to reading more from this author.


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