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When She Woke (2011)

by Hillary Jordan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,65217210,703 (3.68)144
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she 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, for whom observing new Chromes??criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime??is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she's shared a fierce and forbidden love.

When She Woke is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future??where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes fa… (more)

  1. 180
    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. 110
    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. 11
    Christian Nation by Frederic C. Rich (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar theme of a post-evangelical government takeover and its ramifications on civil liberties
  7. 00
    The Misconceiver : A Novel by Lucy Ferriss (bhowell)
  8. 00
    The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (4leschats)
    4leschats: Similar themes of marked criminals/lower elements and female fertility
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» See also 144 mentions

English (170)  French (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
I wanted so badly to LOVE this book. I wanted it to take up residence on my "favorites" shelf. The subject matter of this book, I just knew, as soon as I saw it, this was right up my alley. I promptly put it on my wish list over at barnes and noble, high priority, even. When I saw that the nookbook had one day dropped in price to $3.99 from $14 , I got that tingly feeling that only getting a much-wanted book at a bargain price can give.

The story started okay, explaining who the character was, her predicament and the hows and whys of how she got there. After that, the story pretty much dropped off and it just felt like it was all over the place and NOTHING was resolved. What happened to her sister and Cole? What happened to the people that ran the home she spent those six weeks at? There was mention that the Novembrists might do something to them, but nothing ever happened. Her situation with Aidan, I felt there was no resolution there either. I was sorely disappointed with the story and felt like the author just hurried up and finished. It's almost as if Hillary Jordan got tired of writing and said "screw it, I'm done, let's wrap it up and put a bow on it." I give the book three stars because the idea behind the book is a good one and I did enjoy reading about that. This is just another one of those books that I feel the author could've done so much more with. ( )
  thatnerd | Mar 2, 2024 |
I could barely finish this. The first half of the book is terrifying in its take on a possible future where fascism based on right-wing religion gains not only legitimacy, but political and governmental agency. That's not the church that Jesus founded and I have loved. The latter half of the book loses its way, just as the protagonist seems to find hers. Coincidences and stupid decisions abound and lead to an obvious and unsatisfying ending. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
A modern re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter, in which people who are convicted of crimes have their skin modified to be tinted a color that correlates to the kind of crime they committed. For Hannah, who was caught just after having an abortion, it means her skin is red, the color for murder. She refuses to name the father, who is a famous evangelist and recent appointee to a religious post in the federal government, and she must navigate a society that is completely hostile to her all while struggling to with the notion that her conservative Christian upbringing may not have been an accurate outlook on the world.

A great tribute to Hawthorne while also being a bit terrifying for how close to the current state of things it gets. Excellently strong, feminist ending as well. Recommended. ( )
  electrascaife | Jul 21, 2023 |
WOW it was NOT a good idea to read this right after Kennedy announced his retirement...

This is a lovely awful dystopian novel, and I appreciate that it stands alone and that it called into question faith and the various ways one can embrace it. I don't have any myself, but regardless, I enjoyed reading about Hannah's devotion changing.

Same issue as always though--there's never quite an easy solution to dystopian novels. Kinda like our world today. ( )
  whakaora | Mar 5, 2023 |
I found the book to be a page-turner and imaginative in some ways, but it also seemed juvenile and clumsy and unoriginal in other ways. A pretty good YA book I guess. People have compared it to Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale" - I read that a long time ago, but I remember liking it a lot and I'm guessing it was a much better book. The other obvious influence is the Scarlet Letter, but I don't see exactly why it's so great to have a sort of sci-fi remake of the Scarlet Letter. But I do have to admit there was definitely some writing skill in the page-turniness of the book. I really wanted to see what would happen and I never seriously thought about bailing out on the book. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hillary Jordanprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
Dedication
This book is for my father
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When she woke, she was red.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she 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, for whom observing new Chromes??criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime??is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she's shared a fierce and forbidden love.

When She Woke is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future??where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes fa

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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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