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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
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When She Woke (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Hillary Jordan

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1,0291248,234 (3.73)122
Member:bwhite1021
Title:When She Woke
Authors:Hillary Jordan
Info:Turtleback Books (2012), Library Binding, 354 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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
    Bumped by Megan McCafferty (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It's YA, but the fertility issues are similar in both novels.
  5. 10
    Archetype by M. D. Waters (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of gender/reproduction in the future.
  6. 00
    The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of marked criminals/lower elements and female fertility
  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. 00
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)
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» See also 122 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
This book took me by complete surprise. To the point that I was engrossed in the last 100 or so pages and could not leave my place at the breakfast table until after 10am. I did not mean to finish this book so quickly. In fact, I had every intention of returning it to the library. "It's really good," I said, after the first 20 pages. "But I just don't think I'm...up for it." I wasn't up for a "Handmaid's Tale" type allegory of a dystopian Christian Right Future. It would be too distressing. So I left it in the bathroom. Thinking bathroom-length increments would be best. At least until I could get back to the library on Thursday.

And then it took me over.

There are a lot of things for me to be wary of in a book like this. Firstly, my own so-called "liberal" ideas about abortion, the penal system, etc. This is one of those books that has the potential to play too hard to people like me, creating a sense of smug self-satisfaction that might allow me to just see myself mirrored, as opposed to engaging with the narrative. This leads to the other problem. I don't like books about politics. Not even books about politics I agree with. Not as a rule. Because I know what those books are about.

But Jordan avoids any such dogma, any such easy answers as "Abortion is always the best choice for any woman" and "Christians are always the enemy of civil rights". She does this by creating a story I did not expect, in many ways. The Scarlet Letter structure is a loose one, one of association more than anything else, one of images. This is no mere retelling. This is no reductive allegory or cautionary political tale. This is the story of a woman, of prisons and boxes of all kinds, of a human asserting her own "right to life".

Hannah's journey is compelling, the supporting characters engaging and surprising, and the book is paced and structured very much like a thriller, without dragging me through its garden on a leash.

Recommended for fans of "women's" and "literary" and "science" fiction alike. ( )
  aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
This was a mixed bag for me - I enjoyed the premise of a dystopian future that represented evangelical conservatism and anti-feminism run amok, but the message was a bit too obvious for me. The plot also wandered and included too many different threads. ( )
  sylliu | Jul 8, 2015 |
Reminded me in some ways of The Handmaids Tale. I would be interested in a sequel! ( )
  Verkruissen | Mar 25, 2015 |
What an amazingly unique story. I loved it. Many social issues are addressed and I found them interesting, although it invoked anger in me at how Hannah was treated! I hope our world will never come to this! Damn scary in my opinion. ( )
  LorettaR | Mar 5, 2015 |
I almost didn't read this book because of the many terrible reviews written about it, but I'm glad I did.

The story is fast paced, and interesting. The religion aspect of it put a lot of readers off but I found that it really added to the story and the dystopian world within it.

The idea of chroming was such an intriguing idea, and the journey Hannah took was inspiring and ultimately the right path for her.

A lot of complex issues are explored in this book like abortion and it does make you question the previous beliefs you had.

A good book that interested me but I wouldn't read it again. ( )
  KittyBimble | Feb 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (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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Epigraph
“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
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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