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Red Clocks

by Leni Zumas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8054720,407 (3.74)83
Abortion is illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.… (more)
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» See also 83 mentions

English (46)  French (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Need to think about this one for a bit before I review. ( )
  booksforbrunch | May 5, 2021 |
I mean, this was nearly a 5 star book. Maybe like 4.8 for me. Good pace, engrossing. I throughly enjoyed this book. I wanted more. ( )
  mageestarr | Jan 2, 2021 |
While it does take a bit of time to get into it as it starts off a bit choppy and disjointed it is very satisfying as it all comes together and you figure out the relationships between all the women. ( )
  luzdelsol | Jul 31, 2020 |
Yes, there is a dystopian element to the setting of this novel, but it is not that far from our current reality, and I was not that taken aback with the way the characters dealt with it all.

What it means to be a woman - in 5 interconnected stories...

First and foremost, what it means to be a woman is to be identified by your role, rather than your person. Names exist, sure, but these characters are known by their roles in the community or their self-identified role in place of what might be handed to them by others.

Secondly, what it means to be a woman is to learn to accept that the role is your identity, and struggle either against it or lean into it. Usually, women find themselves doing both.

The Mender - The forest dwelling natural practitioner who knows how to blend solutions to any woman's needs. She comes from a broken background, wants to fix what she can, while still protecting her existence.

The Daughter - The "everyone's" daughter, which I loved. She has a relationship with the Mender and the Biographer, neither of whom are her daily maternal figure. She wants to stay young, needs to lean on others, faces the hardest aspects of this reality.

The Wife - The woman who gave up her independence to be a wife and mother of 2, who wants nothing more than some peace, some excitement, some relief. She tries to accept her role, but ultimately needs to be defined outside of her relationship to someone else. There is no true answer as to whether she succeeds, but she will try.

The Biographer - She isn't a Spinster - because that would give her no role in comparison to others. She isn't Teacher - because she doesn't yet have anything to teach. Instead, she is stuck in her notes, her revisions, her obsession with a woman she thinks has the answers about what it means to be an independent woman.

The Polar Explorer - Here is the true example of a woman who sets out to define herself on her own terms. And yet, she fails, because of her time, her space, her gender.. This lesson was perhaps the hardest for me to read, but the one that most provoked the spark of "Move." ( )
  HippieLunatic | Jul 14, 2020 |
If you are going to try to be the successor to "The Handmaid's Tale" I want you to bring it.
"Red Clocks" a euphemism for a woman's womb or vagina (I don't know guys, I refuse to go back and read this again) talks about a different United States where abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. So synopsis sounded good and I went for this book. I got a somewhat incomprehensible book about four women (and one woman that one of the four is writing a biography about) that limps back and forth between them and then ends.

We have Zumas referring to the four characters as the following throughout her book: the Biographer (Ro), the Wife (Susan), the Mender (Gin) and the Daughter (Mattie).

I think Zumas wanted to designate these characters as what the world sees them at, but honestly in Gin's case the best name would have been "Witch" and Ro would have been "Spinster." So I don't know what she's doing with that. If there had only been three women in this story it would have been a nice call-back to the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

The only story that I cared about was Mattie. One out of four is not good by the way.

Ro's story was focused on her trying to become artificially inseminated. I have no idea why the law would not have included this not being illegal if you freaking ban in-vitro fertilization, but I am not going to think too hard on it. Ro is also writing a biography on a female explorer called Eivør who lived in the 9th-century. I totally started skipping the sections in between chapters that were about her. I just could not at that point with everything else that was driving me up the wall about this book.

Susan is not happy in her marriage and seems to dislike one of her two kids. She wants her husband to go to counseling and he refuses, so she is in a bad stalemate in her marriage. This also led me to question if you are even allowed to divorce in this bold new world, but I guess so. She seems to be passive aggressive about everything and I just honestly wanted to yell at her to either leave your husband or suck it up.

Mattie is adopted and is pretty much the perfect daughter. When she finds herself pregnant, she's scared about what options are left to her. She does confide in Ro so there are some scenes between them, but that is way towards the end.

Gin leaves in the woods and women come to see her now for ailments. So that part was kind of interesting. If the U.S. reverses itself, would more mid-wives or others have to step forward to be there to deal with things for women again. But here story was all over the place for me.

The writing was tough to get past. The flow was awful. It would have helped if all of the women interacted, but they don't. Ro interacts with Susan and Mattie. Mattie interacts with Gin and Ro. The four of them I don't think have one scene together in this book.

The world building didn't really work for me since it left me with a ton of questions. Do I think in the United States we are coming ever closer to a woman's right to choose being restricted, yes. That scares me a lot. We know that somehow this act just randomly got passed. The Supreme Court said okay to this? Where were the mass protests? How the heck did in-vitro even get included with this?

Also the book goes into how single people would soon not be allowed to adopt because of a two parent requirement which also seems to be slamming those who are LGBT so that left me with wondering if that is illegal too?

But then later on Ro brings up protests happening that she is thinking about being a part of and I just wondered about what did the rest of the world say, what are others doing? We hear how one teen goes to jail or disappears essentially after being found out she had an abortion.

The book limps to the end and I was glad to be done with it. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zumas, Leniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harms, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too." --Virginia Woolf
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For Luca and Nicholas per sempre
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By walking, she told her students, is how you make the road.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Abortion is illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling herbalist, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

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