Lately, I’ve been escaping into sci-fi, fantasy, and romance novels so often that I felt I needed a dose of reality. Vox might have been too much reality. Parts of it infuriated me so much that I had to put the book in the freezer down to allow my blood pressure to drop. So, not super relaxing, but it was good.
Vox is told in the same vein as The Handmaid’s Tale, wherein our heroine is suffering through a grim dystopian future. Though there are similarities, this story holds its own…or I just love depressing myself with similar potential dystopian possibilities. Both? Probably.
Jeanne and her family (husband Patrick, sons…I don’t remember their names, and daughter Sonia) live in an America where women now have to wear counters on their wrists that tally the number of words spoken during any given day. As women now only have 100 words a day to speak, and receive a violent shock if they go over, Jeanne’s not to happy about it. Much like in The Handmaid’s Tale, the power is squarely in the camp of Men, due to a takeover of the government by the religious right.
This is a thinly veiled warning about what horror could potentially await us as a result of the Trump presidency. There are many horrors that could await us, aside from those that have already taken place, but this one is pretty grim. Schools now teach the Pure way…what role Christ has in all lives, that the man is the head of the household, that a woman’s job is to procreate and cook and clean and, above all, not think. Because, yes, the counter is technically designed to inhibit a woman’s speech (not even just vocally, but sign language, as well) but take away speech at a young enough age and you’ll be faced with a generation of women who don’t know they’re allowed to have thoughts, let alone voice them.
Jeanne, a noted neurologist before all the shit went down, is soon contacted by the government with an offer she can’t refuse if she wants to protect herself and those she loves. Dalcher does a great job of creating a likable heroine placed in a tough position. Though Jeanne still makes mistakes and has her faults, it’s easy to take her side. The male characters are alternately infuriating or pitiable, though I’m sure you can guess which of those takes precedence. If I have one complaint about the book, it’s that the ending all happens REALLY quickly. I wish it had been drawn out a bit more, to create a bit more suspense, but at the same time, my blood pressure appreciates the quick wrap up.
Read this: If the real world doesn’t already make you mad enough.