When She Woke - Hillary Jordan  5/5


    I saw this in the library and was pretty much sold when it said it was a modern retelling of The Scarlett Letter, but it also channels The Handmaid's Tale. It could even be a companion piece. If you've never read Tale, you really should. This book could even be your gateway to all things Margaret Atwood who happens to be an amazing writer. What I don't recommend is picking this for a reading group, or any group that matter. If you want the night to end in fist fights by all means pick this one and have yourself a ball. The basic thing is that abortion is now illegal, and the Christians have taken over America. Instead of sending people to prison they're now rehabilitated and genetically altered. Red of course being the color of murder. There's also other colors, like yellow, and blue. Think of the world as a giant bowl of M&M's and you have the general idea. So, Hannah not only has an abortion which is considered murder, but she has an affair with a Joel Osteen type.

     The story itself is well written, and easy to follow. It's a novel designed to make you think and if you're one of those right wing, dangerous folks, you'll cheer your head off at how Hanna's world is exactly how you think it should be, but towards the end, you'll be fuming at how it all ends. It's a powerful, gripping novel that shows us exactly where we could be heading as a society if we don't wake up and do something. There's a lot of things going on in Jordan's novel, but she doesn't waste any time in keeping things moving. This is after all Hanna's story, and what I loved most is she doesn't play her as a victim. She suffers so much, yet instead of getting weaker, it only makes her stronger. The evolution of Hannah is really what drives the novel. In a book like this, you're given a what if scenario, a scenario that could really happen. It's a precautionary tale, as well as a story of strength in times of adversity.

     Needless to say, this is easily one of my favorite novels, and one that you simply don't read, you let it roll around in your head a bit, you find yourself thinking about it days later. Jordan is a great story teller that knows how to keep a story moving, and evolving. The religious characters are well written and far more dangerous than the chromes. The relgion that Jordan weaves in is one we've all encountered before. God is not a God of love here. He's an angry God, filling the world with poison that seeps into your lungs, and takes away all rational thought. Hanna's world is one of sadness, and fear. Simply put, if you're easily offended, this is one you should skip. The evolution of Hanna, and her eventual rejection of her faith follows the context of the novel. It's religion that ultimately betrays her, and leads her to make the decisions that she does. Good stuff, and one you should definately check out.