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"When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid declarative red of a stop sign". Hillary Jordan

Hillary Jordan's new novel When She Woke  is an engaging read.  I started and finished it in one evening and the story gripped me. She describes a futuristic society in which criminals are mela-chromed for different crimes. Red if you've committed murder, yellow for other crimes. Hannah, the protagonist, had an abortion and is thus convicted of murder. It's a re-telling of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter mixed with Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale

I really liked Jordan's first novel Mudbound, which won the Bellwether prize http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/2145, sponsored by Barbara Kingsolver. Mudbound deals with racism in Mississippi and offers effective conclusions to the issues that it brings up. When She Woke  brings up so many issues that it's impossible to fully explore all of them and the result leaves the reader slightly confused and frustrated. I love a good "issue" novel, but this one fell flat for me during the last 80 pages.

 However, this did make me want to read The Scarlet Letter  and The Handmaid's Tale again.  It also made me think about how often in my life I try to take on too many issues and how much more effective it is to choose one and deal with it effectively. 

 


Comments

03/16/2012 00:59

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03/27/2012 19:37

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07/13/2012 14:24

Good post bro

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