This book came across my desk for review and I immediately knew that I wanted to read it. It’s been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is a tall order, so I was eager to read this one and see what all the fuss was about.
I read The Handmaid’s Tale in college and wasn’t really a fan. I am not a huge Atwood fan and just didn’t love it in that way that I had hoped. Now flash forward a number of years and suddenly The Handmaid’s Tale has taken on an almost cult following.
The political climate and the Hulu adaptation of the book, have made it more popular than ever and I think more and more women are reading and enjoying The Handmaid’s Tale than ever before. I watched one episode of the show and was completely enthralled…..disturbed but enthralled. That said I haven’t finished watching it because it was almost too disturbing.
So when this one came up for review, I was so excited to read it and see how close it came to such an iconic book.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice (summary from Goodreads).
So right out of the gate, this book was disturbing on a number of levels. So much so, that I almost didn’t want to keep reading. But yet I was so disturbed that I kept reading in spite of my shock. In may ways this book was believable which is what made it so disturbing for me.
Obviously Dalcher has drawn inspiration from The Handmaid’s Tale, but she’s also added her own spin on things. You will see hallmarks of The Handmaid’s Tale but yet you will also find plenty to render this book unique and in it’s own class. There is quite a bit of religious rhetoric in this book which I found to be an interesting angle. I am a Catholic so it was interesting to see how different religions/churches were represented in this book.
I wasn’t at all put off but this angle, it was compelling and interesting and I loved how it worked in the story. I also loved how Dalcher explored the relationship between not just Jean and her husband, but Jean and her children as well. The dynamic between Jean and her oldest son was so well done and memorable. Mothers are supposed to love their children unconditionally right? But what happens when your child becomes the enemy? I loved this aspect of the novel immensely!
Not only was the mother/son dynamic interesting, the relationship between Jean and her husband was also exciting to explore. Like Jean, I also didn’t hate her husband on purpose, it just kind of happened. He was so complacent and did whatever he was told, and like Jean I found myself feeling angry that he didn’t have the balls to do something, instead he just let things happen and moved on with his life. How frustrating! I completely sympathized with Jean and her relationships.
This book was well written and is a frighting tale of what could happen. As a woman reader, I was blown away by how close to home this one hit. There was a lot in this book that made it worth reading but be prepared, it isn’t an easy read to swallow. Like dystopian lit, it’s meant to leave you with kind of a hallowed, nervous feeling and that’s exactly what this book did for me. I was on edge the entire time. The only thing that didn’t make this book a 5 star review for me was the ending. The plot got a little crazy and out of control toward the end. I would have liked to have seen it wrap up a little different and be a little less crazy.
Overall an outstanding read worthy of being compared to The Handmaid’s Tale.
Book: Vox by Christina Dalcher
- Kindle Edition, 336 pages
- Published August 21st 2018 by Berkley
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
- Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5
- Genre: dystopian lit
- Memorable lines/quotes: