Gray Matter

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Children are unique in their own way. Every child is born with its own intelligence, specific IQ’s and definite learning patterns and capabilities. Every parent wants a genius or a child who will someday be a road scholar, doctor or someone prominent in the academic, medical or political world.

But, what happens if your child is born as a result of something you might have done with a birth defect, learning disability or genetic disease? What happens when you child lags behind the others not because he or she is not trying hard to succeed but they cannot due to certain physical and mental limitations? How does a parent deal with that?

gray matterRachel and Martin Whitman have been married for many years and they have a six-year-old son named Dylan who attends a school called the Dells Kids. Dylan is sweet, adorable and friendly but had definite problems in oral expression, verbal skills, comprehending his environment, reading and many other areas dealing with language development. Rachel is distraught and has been quite distant and cold toward Martin for this and many other reasons. You see, part of the reason Dylan has these problems is due to her taking serious drugs in college. For those parents or teens that think taking LSD and other hard core drugs won’t effect you later on you need to read my review and read this outstanding novel by author Gary Braver: Gray Matter.

Gray Matter often referred to as your brain and what you have upstairs that helps you to function. “General human intelligence appears to be based on the volume of gray matter tissue in certain regions of the brain, UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers have found in the most comprehensive structural brain-scan study of intelligence to date.” Author Gary Braver brings to light what happens when a child’s intelligence is compromised by an parent’s mistake and even more when someone decides to play God and alter the brains of children in order to create what any parent wants a smarter and brighter child. Would you go as far as a brain enhancement to doctor your child’s intelligence in order to have a superior or super genius for a child no matter what the cost or the risk to the child’s life?

As the detective delves into the case even further one young man named Brendan deals with his own demons as well as one college professor whose ethics are compromised when he decides to indulge in too much passion with a student whose only goal is to get him to lower someone’s grade point average in order to get the number one at graduation and the scholarship she wants. Everyone seems to be transfixed on getting perfect grades at any cost no matter who pays the price for their success. Nicole wants Michael her history professor to lower Amy’s grade to a B in order for her to make her father proud. Because as some parents teach their children: Number Two is not good enough when you could be number one.

But, there is so much more as one detective is hot on the trail of a killer that has been kidnapping and performing some unusual surgery on the brains of six year olds that have gone missing and whose remains have been found in the most unusual places. A three-year-old cold case has haunted this police officer and he won’t stop until he finds the killer, the reasons behind other strange deaths and the disappearances of many other children before more go missing.

Dylan attends a school for children that might be dysfunctional but they are super bright. Making fun of him and making him feel inferior, he would like to not attend that school. When Rachel learns the results of Dylan’s MRI she becomes despondent and morose and does not know how to handle it without lashing out at Martin. What will she do in order to help Dylan and not destroy her marriage still remains to be seen?

But, there are more back stories and several you won’t believe as poor Travis Dixon is kidnapped along with many other children used as human experiments to find out more about the brains of six year old children in order to enhance those that seem under achievers. Just who is behind this sick experimentation and what does Dr. Lucius Malenko really want to do to these kid’s remains to be seen as Rachel decides to take Dylan to the Nova School to find out more about his program. What part does her friend Sheila play? Why does she feel this would work for Dylan? What happens when the detective pushes too far and is told to back off the case?

As the detective delves more into the case the evidence he finds proves frightening to say the least as the holes that are drilled in the heads of these victims seem to cover the entire language area of the brain. Rachel, meeting with the head neurologist of the Nova School learns more about what he claims they can do for Dylan and when she eludes to the fact that she hopes he can fix his problem with some type of enhancement, he admits nothing and states they have programs that will increase his spelling, language skills, comprehension and much more. Listening to the doctor that took the MRI and read it created more frustration for her and although his words hung deeply in her inner thoughts and mind, she pushed them aside. All too often people have their own mindset of what they want and even though someone might tell them what they need to hear, it is not what they really want to hear and they tune them out.

Let’s get back to Brendan who most certainly plays an integral role in this book. He is a product of this program in some way, definitely super bright according the x-rays taken at Essex Hospital and definitely obsessed for some reason with Nicole our college student who thinks she is on the way to blackmailing her teacher in order to lower another student’s grades. Scary, yet true that some kids will do anything and resort to any method to get the grades their PARENTS want and expect them to have. Wait and see the rest. The worst has yet to be revealed as we find out who is behind the kidnappings, Travis’s fate and much more.

The procedure described in the book is called Stereotactic surgery. This surgery is often used to locate lesions in the brain and deliver radiation therapy. It requires that only one burr hole be made in the skull with the patient under local anesthesia. But, according to the doctor who is describing the procedure to Rachel and what we learn about Lucinda and Brendan there are many more holes drilled and the end result is quite unique in each child. Would you pay for Brain Power or Brain Intelligence? How far would you go to change your child’s normal brain intelligence? Martin Whitman is all for it because he appears embarrassed and upset that his son is learning disabled and might never be a doctor, corporate mogul or have a six figure job. Sad, but true and the plight of many kids.

Julian Watts just wanted to be normal but that was not longer possible. Amy Tran was very bright and would soon the victim of someone’s deception. Vanessa Watts would pay the price for speaking out. Several of the children who were enhanced would learn the price they paid for intelligence was a lot more dangerous than having the learning problems. The death toll is about to rise from what this doctor has started and the end result will send chills down your spine as Rachel and Martin have to make the decision of Dylan’s life. Would you spend one half a million dollars to enhance your child’s brain? What if the end result was that your child would reach genius level the side effects just might be catastrophic? An ending that is scary, bone chilling and thought provoking to say the least. The moral issues are many and the ethics of one doctor definitely suspect.

Once again author Gary Braver takes the reader on a journey from start to finish with one detective who is relentless and won’t give up until he finds out what is behind the doors of this school that is supposed to help kids learn better. Gray Matter we all have it we all need it to function. Don’t tamper with what God gave you. The end result: You just might not be who you really are! Harvesting children’s brains in order to make others smarter. Two parents. One Dylan. What happens will definitely make you stop and think at the degree to which some will go to get a perfect child. An ending you won’t see coming and an author who definitely delivers more than just a murder mystery. Once again author Gary Braver brings to light an important issue.

Just how important is it for your child to be a genius? What if your child needs some extra programs to help with comprehension, math and language skills? As an educator I know there are many great programs and services to help these children. How far would you go? Read this book and then decide. Normal: Genius: Enhanced? You decide!

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