Author: Christina Dalcher
Publication Date:August 21, 2018
Page Count: 336
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
One of Entertainment Weekly’s and SheReads’ books to read after The Handmaid’s Tale
One of Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer”
Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
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.
This is just the beginning…
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.
…not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
With Vox by Christina Dalcher being compared heavily to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale I decided that in order to do an accurate review I needed to push myself to actually read The Handmaid’s Tale all the way through before picking up this title. I know many have loved Atwood’s take on a dystopian future in which women were treated as property but had tried it before and didn’t care for the style. My second attempt did nothing to improve my feelings however and I was left with a rather unfavorable opinion which I’ll admit did worry me still having to read Vox.
After sitting down with Vox it became immediately apparent to me that my feelings were going to be drastically different with this title. The very first thing I noticed was the writing style flowed a lot easier than Atwood’s had and with that it made immersing myself into Dalcher’s world a lot easier of a transition than I’d experienced with Atwood’s world. The stories are similar in the generalist of comparisons but Dalcher has brought the idea into this era in time to make it easier to relate to.
Vox opens introducing readers to Dr. Jean McClellan who has been downgraded from her status as a leading doctor in her field of study to nothing more than a housewife cooking and cleaning and caring for her four children. With flashbacks into the past readers are given a look at how this world could have possibly come about where women are closely monitored and punished if they dare to speak more than 100 words a day. With a husband and three sons you easily see the comparison to how males are treated to how Jean and her young daughter are treated.
Writing styles aside between these two books Vox still wins hands down as my favorite for giving a reader the hows and whys to the world peppered throughout the story. Atwood’s title left me frustrated and annoyed with every turn of the page because it felt like the shock factor of the story was supposed to entertain me enough that I wouldn’t want to know why women didn’t fight back or how it came to be at all. As Vox goes on it really felt as if the author gave voice to the little questions that would plague me all the while weaving a tale that captured my attention and gained my sympathy to the character. And then when finished I will just say the outcome was also a lot more satisfying this time around too leaving me to rate Vox at 4.5 stars. I’d definitely say give this one a chance whether you actually were a fan of the original or only a fan of the concept.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at several universities.
Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include the Bath Flash Award’s Short List, nominations for The Pushcart Prize, and multiple other awards. She teaches flash fiction as a member of the faculty at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
VOX is her first novel.