Author: Christina Dalcher
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published: August 21, 2018
Audiobook: 9 Hours 27 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 5-10, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
This is just the beginning…not the end.
I don’t think of myself as a feminist, but dang, this book got my blood boiling! In a future America where women have literally been silenced in multiple ways: They can’t have a job, vote, travel, use a computer or even read. And even more: They cannot speak more than 100 words a day. Females of all ages (even little children) have to wear a wristband that counts down how many words they utter. Once the counter reaches zero the women receive an electric shock and ff they continue to speak the shock becomes even stronger until… well we do actually see what happens in one case.
This America has The Pure Movement which is responsible for everything. Yes, this book has political and religious undertones to it. Many people think of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are totally silent and men make all of the decisions everywhere, including the home. It’s not just women who are silenced: There are punishments for premarital sex and extramarital sex. But it is just the women who are punished. Homosexuality has also been deemed a choice and there are camps where the LGTBQ persons are housed. They are housed in rooms with one man and one woman and are expected to reverse their ‘decisions’ and become heterosexual again.
Our MC is Dr. Jean McClellan who has four children: Three boys and one young girl, so she is getting opinions from all sides. One of those sides comes from her own son who doesn’t seem to have any issue with The Pure Movement. He even tells Jean his plans with a girl. And Jean says, “what does she (the girl) have to say about that?!?” I’m sure not much since females can’t utter more than 100 words a day!
I also like that Jean is realistic but also far from perfect. We also see how her decisions affect how events occur.
This is a strong debut novel from Dalcher, though the second half was almost like a second weaker story for me. It was piggybacking off of the original story but going in its own way. There were also a lot of science terms used that might be confusing for some readers. I think listening to the book helped me versus if I had been reading it. I was still invested in it and found myself listening to the book whenever I was able to!
Dalcher seems to like to write about controversial subjects looking at some of the other books she has written: Master Class which deals with standardized testing in the school system and The Sentence which deals with prosecutors seeking the death penalty put their lives on the line if the guilty are later found innocent. Both of those books I plan on reading/ listening to!
Julia Whelan is the narrator for Vox, and I can’t say anything bad about her! I just love her and could listen to anything she narrates!