Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox was recently chosen as our book club book and I was so excited to get stuck into it. I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale and Vox definitely sounded like it had similarities. It’s a feminist dystopia book and we delve into a nightmare where women have no voice – literally. In Vox, Dalcher gave women only 100 words a day.

Dalcher imagines an America where women are mere afterthoughts, to bekept  in the home, pleasing their husbands, and most importantly, keeping quiet. Dalcher brings to life in a very scary and real way, the idea that women should not be heard, and should be voiceless.

While Dalcher doesn’t name Trump in the book, it’s pretty clear that he is the totalitarian President who brings in this new idea that women must wear a word-counter bracelet on their arms. He came into power after the countries first black President had served his term (sounds like Trump already), and he wants women to sit back and shut up (those nasty women).

In the book, if women go over their limit of 100 words day, their cute little word-counter bracelets will send an electric shock jolting through their bodies, and if they continue, they will be burned by the bracelet. Women are at home being housewives, while the men are out working. The women in Vox have no access to books, to pens or any writing materials or computers. Surveillance ensures that they don’t communicate by non-verbal means.

The novel is written through the eyes of Jean, a former cognitive linguist in the Washington area. Her husband, Patrick, works for the Government, and he is of little help to Jean it appears. I didn’t like Patrick’s character, he was weak. He didn’t stand up for his wife, or his daughter or the millions of women in America who literally had their voices taken away. I can’t abide spineless characters so I really didn’t enjoy Patrick.

The book follows Jean as sh is approached by the President to help his brother, who has sustained a brain injury. Jean quickly uses this to her advantage to demand that the word-counters are removed from her own wrist as well as her daughters.

I felt like the novel had great potential, it could have been a fantastic feminist dystopia novel, but it fell just short of the mark. It seems to quickly turn into a thriller, rather than focusing on the more interesting ideas that were bubbling up at beginning. The story needed to go deeper into the political turmoil facing Americans, in particular, its silenced women, but instead it takes a different pathway into a silly thriller. I didn’t enjoy the ending, but I won’t give that away here.

Overall, I thought the book had a solid foundation, explored some great ideas, but really just skimmed the surface on them all. I would still recommend it though as I did still enjoy it. It turned out to be a much lighter read than I had expected, but worth a read nonetheless. I give it 3 stars out of 5. Buy Vox on Amazon.

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