Vox by Christina Dalcher (2018)

download-1Set in a time when women can only speak 100 words per day, this dystopian novel confining women to motherhood and wifehood takes place in the not far distant future/present when a loud mouth president who is anti-women is elected on the heels of a Black man who believed in moving the women’s movement forward. While this backward slide in a woman’s right to speak, work, or have any rights beyond choosing what’s for dinner may seem a bit of a stretch, we’ve seen far too many other dystopian novels feel like reality. The novel is obviously similar in message to Handmaid’s Tale (and not nearly as well written), and it begins with a poignant relationship between the main character–a mother of three– and her five-year-old daughter, and how she’ll handle the fact that her daughter will soon get her “bracelet” that will count her words (as pare of the PURE movement). But about half way through the book, it kind of turns into a mystery/thriller where this same mom is put in charge of a top secret medical experiment at the request of the President.  This section becomes far less plausible than the initial concept of limiting a woman’s words. I think the author got a bit over her head in complications where too many actions and motives are not believable.  Some definite plot flaws here.  Still, it’s a quick and interesting read, and many parts of it are quite good.

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