When She Woke

When She WokeBellwether Prize Winner Hillary Jordan S Provocative New Novel, When She Woke, Tells The Story Of A Stigmatized Woman Struggling To Navigate An America Of A Not Too Distant Future, Where The Line Between Church And State Has Been Eradicated And Convicted Felons Are No Longer Imprisoned And Rehabilitated But Chromed Their Skin Color Is Genetically Altered To Match The Class Of Their Crimes And Then Released Back Into The Population To Survive As Best They Can Hannah Is A Red Her Crime Is Murder In Seeking A Path To Safety In An Alien And Hostile World, Hannah Unknowingly Embarks On A Path Of Self Discovery That Forces Her To Question The Values She Once Held True And The Righteousness Of A Country That Politicizes Faith. I wish I could write two reviews for When She Woke, one for the first half of the book and another for the second Unfortunately, this is not one of those books that I can say starts off not so good but finishes on a high note on the contrary, the first half was one of the strongest dystopian openings I ve read in a long while and the second was just, well a mess.The first half of this book was at least a solid four stars It was well paced, fast without feeling rushed, and it was very clear to me how such a society could easily be developed I don t know how many times I ve criticised dystopian books because of their lack of explanation, it s almost as if the author doesn t know themselves how their imagined society would have come about This isn t the case in When She Woke It isa story where the religious right in the US have basically taken over Abortion is now illegal and women nearly always stay in the home in order to most effectively benefit their husbands This is all very The Handmaid s Tale ish Then comes the whole The Scarlet Letter side of things I have never read that book so I cannot compare the two, but all you need to know is that criminals are chromed a colour to match their crime and released back into a society that shuns them It sounds a little ridiculous but I found it rather easy to believe in.Hanna
This was a four star book until the last 80 or so pages, and then it lost its way So 3.5 stars it is The novel starts off strong with a tale of private shame made very public, and gleeful cruelty masquerading as religious piety I saw some spooky parallels with the way Warren Jeffs was controlling the FLDS Church a few years ago Jordan takes the basic themes from Hawthorne s The Scarlet Letter and brings them into the future with the addition of abortion and extreme fundamentalist rule Hannah Payne Hester Prynne and Aidan Dale Arthur Dimmesdale have had an affair She s a young innocent parishioner He s a married preacher with a huge following and a spotless reputation Hannah has aborted their love child Instead of a scarlet letter, she is punished with a scarlet body In this version of America, most criminals serve out their sentences among the general populace rather than behind bars Their skin is melachromed red, yellow, green or blue, depending on their crimes Being marked in this way makes them outcasts, subject to derision, physical attacks, and even death threats Prison would seem a merciful punishment After her initial chroming and public humiliation period, Hannah stays in a halfway house meant to prepare her for re entering society as a Red She then makes a series of stops along a sort of futuristic underground r
If you must read one book this year, make it WHEN SHE WOKE Hillary s mom Hillary Jordan has raised a red flag about how the powers of American religious extremism might change our world Set in the not too distant future, When She Woke WSW is an update of The Scarlet Letter TSL , accompanied by a healthy dollop of The Handmaid s Tale THT.In a theocratic USA, Hannah Payne is punished for having an abortion by having her entire body turned red In this new America many crimes are punishable by melachroming, or coloring a person s entire body, a much larger version of the scarlet A that Hester Prynne was forced to wear The result of this is an entire class of people who are socially cast out for being melachromes Which makes one think of Russell Banks recent look at ostracism in The Lost Memory of Skin Hannah is a sympathetic character, but one filled with contradictions Having been raised in a strict religious household she always did as she was told and did not look beyond the confines of her environmental box But once she comes to a sense of her sexual romantic needs and desires, she breaks out in a big way, sleeping with the charismatic, megachurch reverend hottie Hannah manages to find someone willing to help her and
A quite good sci fi novel, When She Woke tells the story of a future United States in which crimes are punished by chroming According to what the offense is your skin is dyed that color Hannah Payne the Scarlet Letter is paid homage to throughout refuses to divulge the name of her lover or her abortionist, so she receives the maximum sentence, 16 years with her skin dyed red and she must survive somehow out on the streets as a pariah in the ultra religious society that the U.S has become Anyone can attack her and get away with it, the police won t protect her.What was different about the story is
This book started out good, but was really just a poor man s A Handmaid s Tale The final nail in the coffin was the contrived lesbian experience near the end because gaining religious and social freedoms and becoming a femini
Warning Due to the heavy religious tone of the book, this review is going to be religious in nature and will in large part be a discussion of my faith If you re offended by this, please feel free to skip reading this particular review Some books disturb you psychologically For authors like King and Koontz and Barker, that psychological fear is their bread and butter, and many of us will pay good money to be frightened But then there are the books that disturb you on a moral level A spiritual level And often, though I m sure not always, these books are not written with marketing in mind These books are written because the author has something to say and will burst if they don t get to vent their anger and concern and fear onto paper, and it doesn t really matter to them if no one ever reads a word of it But books like this, like 1984 and The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 and The Handmaid s Tale, will always be picked up but a like minded reader and passed on to like minded friends, and perhaps even friends whose minds have rusted shut at the hinges, hinges that creak open reluctantly with every page they read Because the unknown is always questioned and feared, and what greater unknown is there than the future If we read to know that we re not alone, we also read and write to know that we re not alone in our question
How absolutely cool is the premise of this book In this dystopian society, skin is genetically mutated a certain color to paint convicts to represent their crimes Red skin means murderer In this society, red skin also means someone who has had an abortion, a procedure that has been deemed illegal now that Roe V Wade has been overturned This novel had the potential to be as frightening as Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale, a novel that didn t seem entirely far fetched when it was published, and still does not in a world where women still have to fight for their right to have complete control over their bodies I think books of this nature are especially important given the current fight over birth control that has cropped up as candidates fight to challenge Obama in this year s election People like Rush Limbaugh really exist There are groups of people out there who want a world like this one to be the one we live in Books like this one are almost realistic fiction when you think about it like that Terrifying.The novel starts out strong Hannah Payne has recently been transformed to become a Chrome, her skin mutated Red, to represent her crime of abortion She must live her days on camera ins
Oh dear A dystopian novel with echoes of The Handmaid s Tale which I love and The Scarlet Letter which I haven t read sounded promising It was dreadful.I m not a big fan of How to write checklists they re usually far too prescriptive, and very negative a list of don ts However, I found myself wanting to shriek Show, don t tell every few pages I kept reading only because I had time on my hands and thought it could only get better it didn t.PLOT BY NUMBERSHannah is a good ish , 26 year old Christian girl, whose only vice is secretly making beautiful, slightly immodest, clot
Bullet Review Ykldfhakjdhakjliiu4eo843You know, up until the last, what, hour of this audiobook, I was fully intending to give it 3 stars It has its faults, but you know, it tries It s no The Handmaid s Tale , but it tries.And then we have to go and have that censored scene And gorrammit, that ruined the message of the book for me RUINED.Message 4 starsCharacters 2 starsBook up until last hour 3 starsBook after THAT SCENE 1 starFinal Rating 1 starMaybe if you haven t read 1984 or The Handmaid s Tale or any better dystopian fiction out there, this would be OK And sure, it s better than the sh tstorm of dystopian fiction now flooding the market after The Hunger Games But this is no story about a woman s journey It s a story about a woman whining after a man.And I think because Jordan is a half decent writer with a half decent world is what makes this story even infuriating Because it COULD be good with some minor tweaking It COULD have a fabulous message, empowering to women and men and every