• June 1st, 2020

Lesheni's corner - We Are All Made of Molecules by Susan Nielsen



If you are looking for a perfect read during the lockdown, Susan Nielsen’s novel should top your list. It explores a clash between two teenagers, Ashley and Steward, who were “forced” to become family when their parents moved in together. Stewart lost his mom to cancer, and after a battle to learn to live without her, he and his dad had to move on with life. This meant moving in with Ashley and her mom, who now became Steward’s stepsister and stepmother respectively. 

As complete opposites, Steward being a socially clueless genius and Ashley being popular with everyone but her teachers, they come to realise that they have one thing in common – just like everyone else, they are made of molecules that connect them. This is a concept Stewart made up to cope with the death of his mother, believing that even in death, what connects them is not dead – it lives on. “Molecules are made of atoms. When someone dies, their molecules break down into smaller molecules as well as individual atoms. So, say a carbon atom is part of a molecule in a person’s leg. When that person dies, that atom could become part of a molecule in something else, like a blooming flower, or even another human being. Or an oxygen atom in your sandwich could end up in a molecule as part of your brain.”

The novel is suitable for adults and teenagers because it can be explored from many angles. It is insightful, hilarious and also teaches readers the values of life through the concept of death. Why the novel is a perfect read during the lockdown is it entertains and educates, making us realise that the molecules that connect us could work against us as pathogens. Thus, the novel is a reminder for us to stay at home if we understand that everyone, and everything, is interconnected and a perfect one to read while we stay at home.


Linea Hamukwaya
2020-04-27 09:42:31 | 1 months ago

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