Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Vox by Christina Dalcher
Publisher: Berkeley
Publication date: August 21, 2018
Source: Publisher for an honest review

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan 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.

My Take:

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good dystopian story - short story, novel, movie - you name it.  Fortunately for me, VOX really hit that dystopian sweet spot just when I needed to read it. 

The novel starts about a year into the new chapter of America in which all females are limited to 100 spoken words a day. This barbaric rule is enforced by a “bracelet” which counts the words and delivers gradually increased electric shocks with each word over 100.  As if this isn’t bad enough, females are also deprived of reading and writing - of any kind. For any reader, curious person, and any otherwise intelligent human being, this is exceedingly cruel. Girls are segregated into their own “schools” to learn homemaking skills - this is their only education.  Jobs for women are out of the question, of course. 

The descriptions of how this came about are told by Jean as flashbacks of regret for not taking things seriously or seeing the threats as real. Jean regrets that she viewed her friend Jackie as too extreme in her protest, too hysterical. That word is used a lot in referring to women - specifically how men view women’s reactions to things happening to them. 

Anyway, Jean is an amazing cognitive linguist who had been on the verge of a major breakthrough right at the moment that women lost their right to speak. This is a huge point in the novel. Not only are human rights being violated at every turn, but there is a huge conspiracy as well. Without giving anything away, the story involves Jean being needed by her government for her particular skills and her response to this coercion. 

The novel is fast paced, thought provoking, has some great heroic characters and really kept me emotionally invested in the story. 

Once I started reading VOX, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. For anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, read The Handmaiden’s Tale or enjoys feminist, activist fiction, definitely read VOX.

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