Book Reviews · Dystopian · Fiction · Thriller

Vox by Christina Dalcher – Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced,
VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice

Have you ever read a book synopsis that you just knew was designed for you?  That’s how I felt about this book.  A little background about me: 1.) as an undergrad I studies Speech and Hearing Sciences (think: speech therapy/audiology) and was one course shy of having a linguistics minor, and 2.) I work currently at the Neuroscience Center (as Grants Manager, but still, I regularly am surrounded by neuro).  When I read Jean, the lead, was/is a neurolinguist?!  Seriously, does anyone need a bigger sign?

I was initially impressed by the inclusion of the technical terminology (that was used correctly, no less).  You don’t necessarily need to have background in linguistics (AKA the scientific study of language and its structure) to appreciate the book, but I could see it getting a little bogged down with technical jargon.

What was particularly haunting to me about this novel was the structure, told almost in a “then” and “now” construct.  The “now” portions seemed so over the top – Could this really happen? NEVER, not in AMERICA – until you read the “then” – the insertion of a school course promoting the “Pure Movement” here, a disparaging remark from a political leader about the role of women there.  While I want to say that the notion of this book is absolutely ridiculous, I honestly can’t.

I felt the story dragged a bit for my tastes.  There was a somewhat forced romantic component, and the ending was even more forced.  Even so, my experience was still mostly good so I would rank it 3 out of 5 stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read, but I can see it being a bit problematic with certain readers.  While the story itself is basically a cautionary tale of why women need to continue to fight for their voice against religious extremists, sometimes the accusations are thrown at Christianity as a whole.  As long as you can focus on the real villain (extremism) this shouldn’t be a major issue.

Finally, I must say: if you choose to read this book, you will get mad. Mad at those that refuse to speak up, mad at yourself for not fighting for your rights, and (controversial statement alert) mad that even though this story is currently fiction, others are experiencing similar degrees of suppression, just having less technology to enforce it. This book isn’t meant to be warm and fuzzy. Similar to The Handmaids Tale, this is a precautionary tale intent on firing up people to prevent this mayhem.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy.  Reading this book makes me even more appreciative of the fact that I can share my honest thoughts, opinions, and WORDS with our readers..  Get your hands on a copy today!

Xx,

Kaylie

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