On the day the goverment decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellen is in denial — this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
Review: This book is revolutionary. I’m going to get straight into it because I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on this one more or less since I started reading it. I knew instantly that this book was going to blow my mind – and it did. Set in America and the new government has set some new rules. As a woman, you’re only allowed to speak 100 words a day and a cute little counter on your wrist ensures you do that. Go over 100? Well, nobody wants to do that in this day and age.
Women are no longer allowed to work; the men make up the entire workforce and Women occupy their “rightful” places. The home, the kitchen and being child-bearers. The government have adopted a new “Pure” movement to ensure men are men and women are women and we all stick to our roles within society. No matter what. Dr. Jean McClellan has lived like this for over a year and witnesses the change but when she’s asked to go back to work after the Presidents Brother suffers a head injury, she’s about to regain some control. Or is she?
One thing is for certain, Jean will not be silenced.
Agh! I got goosebumps just writing that. Vox is such a rich story and so much more happens than I could possibly give away in a short brief of the story. Besides I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone thinking of reading it. The basic premise, that of Women only being allowed to speak 100 words a day and there being consequences if they don’t, it such a unique and fascinating (is fascinating the right word here? Probably not) concept. Right from reading the blurb, I was intrigued and throughout reading the book my intrigue only grew and grew, the more I learnt about the “movement”, the characters and this world in which it was set. It made me incredibly uncomfortable. And I loved it.
Jean and her family are an interesting dynamic; Jean, the Dr. who no longer works and can no longer speak freely. A fiercely smart Woman who’s being held back from the potential she holds. Her teenage son who has taken to this “Pure” movement like duck to water, her twin boys, young daughter who also has her wrist-counter and husband, who isn’t quite sure what to think about anything, so he doesn’t say much at all. I loved Jean, I really did. And loved her little girl, Sonia. Naturally, I was deeply drawn to the Women and females in this story as opposed to any of the men. Even the men which were good, I almost recoiled from. Weird, huh?
There are some pretty disturbing scenes in Vox and I don’t usually get disturbed too easily – watching TV shows and films and especially when I’m reading books. I don’t know what that says about me (that I’m a sick fucker maybe?) but I rarely find things that shock or surprise me or make me need to take a break but this did. This made me flinch and feel a deep ache in my chest for what some Women in the book were going through. And a particular scene near the end which I’m not going to spoil but involves a science lab and a certain primate, I will admit I probably felt just as faint as Jean did in that moment.
Above all else, this book really made me appreciate Women even more than I already did. Obviously real-life has no relation on what happens in this book but real-life Women are silenced every day. They may not have wrist counters but sometimes, they don’t need them. The Women in this book were courageous and admirable. Clever and intuitive. Fearless and resilient. Everything that I aspire to be. So thank you, Christina.
Vox was without a doubt, one of the books of the decade for me. If you love The Handmaid’s Tale then you’ll love this. It’s just as disturbing, just as brutal and definitely just as heart-breaking. It made me think, it made me recoil and it made me irrevocably angry. It had me absolutely reeling at times and I would urge everyone – man, woman or person – to read it. It’s not just a story, it’s an experience. And it’s revolutionary.