01 May 2012
When She Woke ~ Hillary Jordan
Scarlet Letter going the whole alphabet!
A confronting blend of SciFi and the Religious Right
This is a most provocative read, as was Mudbound. But where Mudbound was set in the not-too-distant past and was thought provoking on racial issues, When She Woke was set in the not-too-distant future and pushed the boundaries with religion and women's issues.
It takes a brave author to create such a believable (on our doorstep) dystopia of life ruled by super conservative Mega churches with no separation of church and state. And then to throw abortion and a touch of homosexuality into the mix.
I know that it leaned heavily on The Scarlet Letter, blended with a little of The Handmaiden's Tale, but I found it a compelling and confronting read. When not reading I was keen to get back to the book to find what would happen. The concepts were well developed. Criminals were "chromed" rather than sent to jail ... that is their skin was colour coded and then they were pushed out into a harsh, judgmental world. There was a tendency to be heavy handed and to be a bit stereotypical with some characterisation, but it kept the novel short and the pace fast and the theme strong.