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It doesn’t matter that she shouldn’t, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted.
Trigger warning: rape.
Ooh, this is a toughie. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Alderman’s The Power. It’s an intriguing and clever concept, but this never really translates into an engaging story.
Imagine if one day, suddenly, girls developed a strange physical power: they can produce electricity inside them. They can use this power to hurt, to torture, and to kill. A world that is buil
When a male friend found out I was reading a book in which all women simultaneously develop the power to electrocute people and subsequently seize control of society, he responded “Tch, if that were the other way around, you’d go mad”… NO SHIT SHERLOCK! Damn right, the idea of a society in which one sex is systematically oppressed through the threat (or use) of physical and sexual violence infuriates me. The concept of one sex being disproportionately raped, killed and restricted sickens me. B
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time and it came completely out of the blue. The real genius of it is the way that Alderman turns society so perfectly on its head. The story begins when teenage girls worldwide simultaneously develop a ‘skein’, a strip of muscle in their collarbone which conducts electricity, allowing them to instantly inflict pain and even death. Some girls have more power than others and they are able to wake up the force in older women too. Virtually overnight, the world changes beyond recognition. Women are elected as political leaders virtually everywhere, the army is almost completely composed of women, God changes gender, sex-trafficked women break free from their bonds, and there are scenes in the Middle East which show the true meaning of ‘Girls Gone Wild’. This is not a gutless, saccharine tale of gender equality, it is a novel that unflinchingly holds up a mirror to the horrors of the society we now live in.
While I was reading the first half of this book I felt physically and mentally powerful in a way that I hadn’t felt before. It was exhilarating. But then things begin to go awry, and by the end I felt icky for having felt so good about the first half. Alderman rebuts the notion that women are somehow naturally more kind and caring than men. It shows that power is power, and the way that power is used should always be scrutinised and controlled.
It’s difficult for me to pull out and highlight bits that I enjoyed because it was just so great. It’s masterfully written and razor sharp. You need this in your life.
I see the future and I see a film adaptation, tattoos on palms and a video game (I would play that video game).
*This review is also published at http://theslattern.com/2017/02/18/the…*
With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley who provided me with a free ARC in return for an honest review
I finished this novel at midnight last night and after I went to bed, I blinked into my pillow and tried to think of what words I would type into this box on Goodreads apart from that first one: wow. After a few minutes thought, I figured I could add “intelligent” and “uncomfortable” and “thought-provoking.”
The problem with all of those is that they get used so often that we see only hyperbole. This book, like many others, bears a jacket printed darkly with other authors saying great things