I had been wanting to read this book for a while and finally had the opportunity when I picked it up during a book haul.
Vox is a boon by Christina Dalcher set in a world not too different from our own. Well. moving past the Twilight Zone-ishness of the novel it is about a USA in where women, people of color and those on the spectrum have been shut up, quite literally. Women (if they are straight and behave themselves) are allowed to speak 100 words a day. This is true of children as well and they are forced to wear a shock bracelet that gives them a shock each time they go above that limit. And the more words you say, the stronger the shock is. Too many words and you’re practically in an electric chair. Women aren’t allowed to work, get mail, use sign language, write, read or anything else other than cook, clean and watch the few television channels available to women. They aren’t even allowed to read their own medical reports, it must be done by their husbands or closest male relative.
Can you imagine raising four children like this? When one of your kids is drinking the Kool-Aid and your only daughter is rewarded in school for not speaking at all, what is Jean, the protagonist supposed to do. Once a brilliant scientist on her way to curing aphasia (the loss of ability to understand speech) she is now confined to her home. Until, the same bigot who caused the new laws that silenced women needs her research. Throw in a love affair and a revolution in the works, and you have Vox.
I finished this book in two days. It was just that amazing and captivating. Yes, it was reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale but it also reminded me of Iola Leroy by Frances E. W. Harper. The protagonist of said novel not caring about the struggles and cares of slave until she finds out she is one. Similarly, Jean doesn’t really care about the struggles that led to the current government. She doesn’t talk politics, laughs at the marching women, doesn’t think about issues for people of color. It isn’t any of her business…until it is and it is too late.
The characterization and emotional were so real. I could see how Jean was struggling, how angry and terrified she was as she was forced into a position that could either make things worse for everyone or make it a little better for herself.
A rare rating, I give this a 5/5!
Have you read Vox? How about Frances E. W. Harper’s Iola Leroy or, Shadows Uplifted or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? If you have, I would love to know what you thought of it. Leave a comment down below!
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