This stunning debut - like The Lovely Bones - is a child's story narrated from the afterlife, and an emotional fable about love, forgiveness, and what most makes us human.
From the start of this extraordinary first novel, eight-year-old Jess finds herself in heaven reviewing her short life. She is guided in this by a being she calls the Assembler of Parts, and her task, as she understands it, is to glean her life's meaning. From birth, it was obvious that she was unlike other children: she was born without thumbs. The Assembler left out other parts too, for she suffers from a syndrome of birth defects that leaves her flawed. But soon it becomes apparent that by her very imperfections she has a unique ability to draw love from - and heal - those around her, from the team of doctors who rally to her care, to the parents who come together over her, to the grandmother whose guilt she assuages, to the family friend whom she helps reconcile with an angry past. With a voice full of wisdom and humor, she tells their stories too. Yet, only when she dies suddenly and her parents are suspected of neglect, unleashing a chain of events beyond her healing, does the meaning of her life come into full focus. And only then does the Assembler’s purpose become clear.
With prose that is rich in emotion - from laughter to tears to outrage to joyful relief - and an eloquence that distills poetry from the language of medicine and the words for ordinary things, Raoul Wientzen has delivered a novel of rare beauty that speaks to subjects as profound as faith, what makes us human, and the value of a life.
A wonderfully warm-hearted novel crafted in exquisite prose, The Assembler of Parts will leave you reaching for the tissue box, in the best possible way. Narrated from heaven by an eight-year-old girl born with a series of deformities, who slowly reveals how her missing pieces are actually tools that help heal the wounded adults around her, The Assembler of Parts is an accomplished debut, and performer Cassandra Morris does an excellent job narrating as an eight-year-old girl, with a sweet, breathy voice that is beautifully evocative of the main character.
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Terrific Debut Novel
The Assembler of Parts, by Dr. Raoul Wientzen, Audible edition narrated by Cassandra Morris.Comparisons to The Lovely Bones are inevitable, however, this tender tale is not an emotional roller coaster. Still, I would not recommend listening while driving and it is a good idea to keep the Kleenex close by. The story is sensitively told without being overly sentimental and the author's characterization skills are excellent.Jessica Mary Jackson is born with Hilgar's Syndrome, a birth defect which leaves her without thumbs and missing bones in her ear canals and forearms. The reader learns immediately that Jessica has died suddenly at age 7 and as the medical mystery is relayed, the Assembler of Parts (God) has Jessica view tapes of her life. As Jess watches her life unfold, we come to know her, as well as her family, friends, and the Drs. who care for Jess from birth. In my opinion, few authors are capable of capturing a young child protagonist so vividly. A first time novelist, Wientzen, is a pediatrician with over 30 years' experience and he has given Jessica Mary Jackson a true and authentic voice. This is a thought-provoking novel about the meaning & joy of living well, and of love, forgiveness, family and friends. Jessica and the reader discover the meaning of her life and that imperfection is often anything but. Highly recommended.
Capturing the voice of a child is very tricky. Debut author Wientzen has created a true and authentic voice in his protagonist Jessica Mary Jackson.
Morris does a good job of narrating this novel. I do recommend listening to a sample first.
Yes, but necessity required listening to it in several sittings.
This is a special book that will stay with you for a long time.
- Amazon Customer