Wow. Just Wow. This book was totally chilling. Set in the not too distant future, women’s rights have been completely stripped away. No bank accounts, no jobs, they are forced to stay at home like a good wife should. But worst of all, they are limited to 100 words a day. Go over that limit and they receive an electric shock. Or should I say shocks. Of increasing violence for every word they say too much.
And this isn’t just women, it’s girls too. A world where women are scared that their unborn babies will be female as they’ll be fitted with these shock bands before they can talk. And if you only talk 100 words a day, how will you ever learn proper language?
For Jean, formerly a scientist with a speciality in linguistics, it’s particularly difficult. Her husband works for the government, and it seems like he might be a lost cause. And now Jean’s oldest son is showing signs that he is being brainwashed by the leaders – he’s saying things that horrify and appall Jean in equal measures.
There were so many times I wanted to blame him, but I can’t. Monsters aren’t born, ever. They’re made, piece by piece and limb by limb, artificial creations of madmen who, like the misguided Frankenstein, always think they know better.Vox
But when Jean is approached by the government to do some research into a brain injury that has been suffered by the president’s brother, she doesn’t really feel like she has a choice. But she is able to bargain for small pieces of freedom, like having her word-counter temporarily removed, and this is only the start for Jean…
I think for me, the thing that got me most about this book was how close to home it felt. Most dystopian books like this are set in the distant future, but this had so many mentions of familiar things that it felt almost like it could be happening now.
The one thing that bothered me a bit though, was that the book was made out to seem like all these horrible things were being perpetuated by Christians. And I know that there are many Christians out there with extreme views about women and their place in society, but these are not the majority, and I’d like to think that the majority would speak up if this started to happen. Just a reminder though, to make sure that behaviours and restrictions like this should never go unchecked.
I’d also like to just say that this book was a beautiful looking book – that’s what first drew my eye to it in the shop, as well as the single word title. The striking cover and spine just made me want to pick the book up!