Perfection is unachievable

If you had the chance to trade your very sick baby brother for a flawless baby would you? In this book, The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, the main character (Steve) has a very important decision to make that will change the lives of people near him forever. {Spoil Alert!} Wasps are creating a new baby for his family and he has to choose whether or not he should replace his baby brother Theo. As the main character matures throughout the story, his decisions change and he realizes that nobody is perfect.

At first when Steve (the main character) found out that he had the chance to change his flawed brother to a new baby brother who is the definition of perfection, he was very excited and happy about it: “He’s so beautiful,…He was all soft flesh and dimpled wrists and knees, and the most perfect bowed mouth. And I knew it was unmistakably our baby, before anything had gone wrong with its DNA, before it had come out of my mom’s womb, before it had gone wrong with its DNA, before it had come out of my mom’s womb, before it slept in the crib in the bedroom down the hall from me.” (Oppel, 143) This shows that at first, Steve wanted this to happen, he wanted this new baby to become his new brother. But he was very naïve and he didn’t realize until after he said yes to the wasps that they would be killing his actual current brother.  Later on, he found out that “the workers eat [Theo]” (179) after they give him the new baby. This is when Steve notices that he’s made a wrong decision and that “no one’s perfect” (171).

Steve matures and changes so much as he learns his lesson. At the beginning of the story, he would worry about everything, how his brother was sick, how wasps could sting him, how there was a weird guy who helped sharpen knives and much more. Towards the end of the story, he stops worrying about the future and he just starts living the present. He starts playing with Theo, becoming friends with the knife guy and feeling comfortable around wasps. Steve conquered many of his fears. To save Theo, at the end Steve gets bitten by tens of wasps and he was fearless: “I was stung and broken, and there were so many of them… I felt them all over me, my back and my neck. They found ways in. And I just tried to keep my body tight and hard like a turtle shell over the baby”.  All of this helped Steve get his priorities straight. It doesn’t matter if Theo has heart problems, lung problems or not, perfection is not real, he will always be his amazing little brother.

Steven learned a very good lesson in this book, and I think everyone should know this once they get older. Perfection is not real; it is a standard that society has made that does not exist. Everyone should learn this in life. Even though Theo may have a lot of diseases, he is still perfect in a lot of people’s eyes. If you want to be read about how Steven found out this important life lesson and how his personality develops, read The Nest!23271637