A Synaptic Self

Our bodies are controlled by a system of nerves, which regulate our basic functions and enable our higher functioning abilities, yet a majority of us have a minimal understanding of these systems. And that’s fine by me–let the professionals take care of and understand that which I do not. But what if you were able to control your nervous system by simply thinking about it? What would that be like? You can find out in Nervous System by Andrea Ring.

Thomas VanZandt is a precocious six year old, but that’s not the strangest thing about him. Thomas can regulate his body and heal himself quickly through his ability to manipulate his nervous system. This ability sets him apart from the other kids in school and makes him question his normality. After the untimely, tragic death of his mother, Thomas is now forced to spend more time with his father, a Navy SEAL who previously traveled a lot for work, as well as his grandmother. Through this, Thomas learns that his ability isn’t unique to him–it’s an inherited trait.

With a quickly-paced narrative and an interesting evolutionary concept, it was easy to breeze through the story, despite my moderate lack of suspension of disbelief that even a precocious six year old would speak and behave as Thomas did. There was much discussion of what is “right,” particularly as it relates to God, which was something that is understandable for a concept like this, but had me mentally slamming the breaks because it’s an all too convenient platform from which to preach.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.


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