Satisfying – The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power

by Naomi Alderman

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Magical realism

“…she knows she has enough left in her skein to stun a man, at least, maybe more – can feel the power sloshing across her collarbone and up and down her arms. The thought makes her laugh again. She finds she’s doing that more often now, just laughing. There’s a sort of constant ease, as if it’s high summer all the time inside her.

 

What if the power were in women’s hands?

One day, women discover they have the ability to deliver electric shocks and with them, terrible pain and even death. And with that, the tables start to turn. Through the eyes of four characters we watch the world get flipped on its head. For better or for worse, everything has changed.

 

Janelle says…

I’ve used the word ‘satisfying’ to sum up my experience reading this book, but really there are so many other words I could have chosen to use. ‘Important’. ‘Relevant’. ‘Genius’. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before that was so of its time.

The Power presents a world in which the balance of power between the sexes is turned 180° overnight, and instead of finding the middle-ground equality that feminists dream of, humanity is presented with a mirror of what we have always known. Young women start to discover a new ability to inflict pain with a flick of their hands. Baby girls are now born with this ability. As the knowledge is passed on to older women as well, the female race rises up strong and confident. With the power in their hands, literally, it looks like true gender equality could be on the cards once and for all. But along with this newfound state, extremist men’s rights groups also start to form, as do fanatical mobs of women intent on dishing out revenge and justice for everything that once was.

As a female, in parts this book is gleefully satisfying, but in other ways it’s terrible and sad. It asks the questions- What if the tables were turned? Would the world be a better place? Would we learn from our past mistakes? Is true equality really achievable?

This book is masterfully written and extremely thought-provoking. There is no better time for this book to come in to existence, and I’d encourage anyone who believes in feminism and gender equality to give it a read. If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll also resonate with this book. It asks more questions than it answers, it is confronting and maddening. But ultimately, the thought you’ll be left pondering is, When it comes to the balance of power, what do I want the world to look like?

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Buddy Read – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

June 2018 – Mel’s choice

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Published 2005

Genres: Fiction / Historical Fiction

 

In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key….

The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open?

So begins a quest that takes Oskar – inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective – across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?

 

Mel says…

I think anyone who is old enough to remember 9/11 and where they were on that day can agree, it is an event that we will never forget for as long as we live. This is why I chose this book, as it delves into the psyche of direct loss from that act of terrorism, albeit in a  fictional sense, however I found Oskar’s story of discovery and mourning intriguing.

Oskar was an extremely quirky 9 year-old, and the trauma that Safran Foer so cleverly portrayed through Oskar’s personality was both brilliant and heartbreaking.

The format of EL&IC was interesting with letters, narrative and images that made each chapter different from the next. There was a large amount of chapters that I skimmed through, due to lack of interest. Generally these were chapters from the Grandparents past which I felt were slightly confusing and uninteresting.

By the end of EL&IC, I was waiting for answers and closure that never came, but after a bit of thought felt that this was consistent with how Oskar would feel throughout his journey for closure.

Although I did enjoy EL&IC, I didn’t love it and was happy with a 3/5 star rating.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

Janelle says…

I went in to this book not really that interested in reading it, but I thought I’d give it a go and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Like Mel, I found the story told from Oskar’s point of view to be incredibly sad, all the more because of the fact that this trauma was and is real for so many people. But I also didn’t really care about the flashbacks of the earlier generation scattered throughout, and by the end of the book it still wasn’t obvious to me why they were necessary. I also felt a sense of “Ok…..aaaaand?” with the ending.

Frankly I struggled to get through this one, I didn’t learn anything new from it and it was all just a bit ho-hum. I gave it a 2-star rating on Goodreads, but the more I think about it post-read, the closer to a 1-star my opinion gets! There’s not really much more to say about it, other than don’t bother.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

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