Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When She Woke book review

When She WokeWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. A re-telling/re-working of The Scarlet Letter. When She Woke is set in a not-too-distant distopian future United States, where the religious right/social conservatives have taken over the government and laws, where there is a Secretary of Faith in the president's cabinet and where having an abortion nets you the same punishment as a murderer. And that punishment - the guilty person is Chromed through genetic implants, turned a specific color indicative of the crime. As someone who grew up close to, though not really a part of, the world of conservative evangelicals, and as someone who is furious at the current crop of politicians trying to roll back human rights in American, this book was both terrifying, and heartening.

Hannah has been Chromed for aborting the product of her affair with a very married, very important man. Once released back into the world that now despises her and, in some cases, actively wants her dead, she must learn who she really is, what she really believes, and how to survive. She was always a little too rebellious for her very straight-laced mother, asking too many questions, not following the full intent of the law, but this characteristic becomes what saves her, in the end. It carries her from the halfway house of horror to a chance at a new life and a true re-awakening.

I almost gave this 5 stars, but there were a few too many moments where I wanted to shake some sense into Hannah for that rating. Overall though, a fantastic book, and one that would be a great pick for a book club or reading group.

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1 comment:

Danmark said...

This sounds like a really great adaption of The Scarlet Letter, and like something that I would really like to read. I am glad that you liked it, but I can also see that some of it puzzled you. I am wondering what my reaction to it will be. Great review!