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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Hillary Jordan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0091218,457 (3.73)119
Title:When She Woke
Authors:Hillary Jordan
Info:Turtleback Books (2012), Library Binding, 354 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (2011)

  1. 160
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Anonymous user, BeckyJG, bookworm12, sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Handmaid's Tale is the classic forerunner to dystopic fiction of sexist futures. When She Woke picks up the mantel with a more modern version of a misogynistic theocracy taking over government. Both show terrifying futures for the state of women in society.… (more)
  2. 100
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: WHEN SHE WOKE is a modern retelling of the classic.
  3. 30
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (ellbeecee)
    ellbeecee: Near-future dystopian fiction that makes you consider what's going on and the various paths that could be taken.
  4. 20
    The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall (sturlington)
  5. 20
    Bumped by Megan McCafferty (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It's YA, but the fertility issues are similar in both novels.
  6. 10
    Archetype by M. D. Waters (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of gender/reproduction in the future.
  7. 00
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (sturlington)
  8. 11
    Christian Nation: A Novel by Frederic C. Rich (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar theme of a post-evangelical government takeover and its ramifications on civil liberties
  9. 01
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)

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» See also 119 mentions

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Novels consciously modeled on previous novels tread a dangerous path. Here Jordan takes the story of The Scarlet Letter and applies it to a dystopic USA of the near future, post-Scourge, a sexually-transmitted epidemic that sterilizes those women who contract it and causes both a wide hysteria and a conservative religious surge. Jordan uses, however, the cool and objective 'voice' familiar to us from Atwood's more recent classic, The Handmaid's Tale for her narrative. Her protagonist, Hannah, is not without strong passions and emotions, but she is also a rational thinker and strong character who only gets stronger as she encounters hardships. Her lover was a famous figure, a popular and charismatic minister and when she becomes pregnant she chooses to have an abortion. She is caught and tried for murder and then 'chromed' - turned bright red - in this future time there is no money for prisons and instead the transgressors are turned various colors for different lengths of time--and let loose back into society where they have to fend for themselves. She does not reveal who the father is, if she had she might have received a lighter sentence. This one act draws the attention of an activist group . . . I wasn't expecting to be so drawn in, nor was I expecting to be moved, at times, by the things that Hannah witnesses and experiences, but I was. It's very well done, even if you know, the entire time, where the story will take you in the end, the journey has twists and turns and small but significant surprises. **** ( )
3 vote sibyx | Jan 19, 2015 |
An updated version of The Scarlet Letter, kind of. A woman has an illegal abortion and is tried for murder. She is convicted and sentenced, her sentence is heavier because she wouldn't give up the doctor or her baby daddy (her married pastor, of course). In this world, the sentence is for her skin to be red for sixteen years, so everyone will know she was convicted of murder.

  bookwormteri | Jan 5, 2015 |
I was recommended this book by a person on the LA Sony Readers VIP trip before we chatted with Michael Connelly. I am glad I picked it up. I am not a huge fan of dystopian fiction or religious issues fiction but this book didn't make either subject too overwhelming.

I enjoyed the story and I loved how the author easily made the reader feel uncomfortable with such minute precision. The concept is genius and I enjoyed growing up with Hannah. I would also like to say, I really hated Aiden...I know, I know...it's not his fault but...I hate him.

Anyway, this is a great book and if you like dystopian or twists on classic lit this one is for you. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Reminded me in some ways of The Handmaids Tale. I would be interested in a sequel! ( )
  Verkruissen | Nov 5, 2014 |
This was an interesting look into what the future could potentially hold. With the threat of overcrowding in prisons, the government takes the approach to colour people's skin who have committed minor crimes. This allows people to continue to be punished by the public.

I felt for the situation that the main character Hannah has landed in. She takes responsibility for her actions and refuses to implicate anyone else involved. This of course causes her to have a longer sentence as she won't provide information. Her journey is difficult and not without pain therefore I found myself routing for her.

Interestingly written with a future that is very scary considering it may not be all that far from possibility. Good for some lively discussion. ( )
1 vote tinkerbellkk | Oct 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
These early scenes, in which Hannah wakes up in the Chrome ward where she’s been sentenced to remain for 30 days, are promisingly inventive. ... Lacking the satiric sting of “1984″ and “A Clockwork Orange,” the pathos of “Super Sad True Love Story” and “The Book of Dave,” or the kind of newfangled vocabulary each of these works used to describe their worlds, Jordan’s dystopia turns out to depict a much smaller future than its bold opening chapters, with their clever homage to Hawthorne, had so valiantly attempted to guarantee.
added by lquilter | editSalon.com, Donna Rifkind (Oct 10, 2011)

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Hillary Jordanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corrigan, HeatherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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“Truly, friend, and methinks it must gladden your heart, after your troubles and sojourn in the wilderness,” said the townsman, “to find yourself, at length, in a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people.”  —NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The Scarlet Letter
This book is for my father
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When she woke, she was red.
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Book description
Hannah Payne awakens to a nightmare. She is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home. She is now a convicted criminal, and her skin color has been genetically altered. Her crime, according to the State of Texas: the murder of her unborn child, whose father she refuses to name. Her color: red. The color of newly shed blood.

In Hannah's America, sometime in the future, faith, love, and sexuality have fallen prey to politics. Convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated, but "chromed", forced to appear in a new and sinister form of reality TV, and released back into the population. Stigmatized in a hostile world, they must survive the best they can.

Until her arrest, Hannah had devoted her life to church and family. In seeking a path to safety, she is forced to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes the personal.

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In the future, abortion has become a crime as a series of events threatens the existence of the United States. One woman wakes up to discover that her skin color has been changed to red as punishment for having the procedure done. Now she must embark on a dangerous journey in order to find refuge from a hostile and threatening society.… (more)

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