In polite conversation, the idea of dyeing nonviolent criminals bright colors and releasing them into society might not be met with raised...moreApril says:
In polite conversation, the idea of dyeing nonviolent criminals bright colors and releasing them into society might not be met with raised voices and ill-disguised disgust in one's political views. But this is the near-future America portrayed in "When She Woke" by Hilary Jordan. Because prisons are overflowing, it becomes acceptable to dye (to "chrome") the skin of those who committed nonviolent crimes and are not likely to repeat them again. America has swung so far to the right that a Secretary of Faith now sits on the President's Cabinet.
This is the life Hannah Payne has known: terrorist attacks, rabid religious conservatives, and chromed citizens. And the world is okay until she comes to find herself in a place where she is a Chrome, an outsider, a new level of second class citizen.
"When She Woke" is a haunting view of an American future not too hard to imagine. With strong characters and a convincing geography of the human soul, Jordan has created a solid representation of a new kind of Big Brother.
"When She Woke" is a page turner. Just as Jordan so beautifully wrote about the injustice and tragedies of racism in America in her last novel, Mudbound, she now artfully exposes the injustices and heartbreak caused by religious extremism that, as she demonstrates in "When She Woke", can arise from any rigid doctrine, even in heartland America.
I just finished reading this book, and I am amazed. It's topics are sooooo "right now":religious fundamentalism, women's rights, reproductive rights, the struggle to managecrime and the situation in prisons, the roll of technology in controlling people and theprivacy issues that go along with that. This book is going to create a STIR--I foresee protests and outrage countered by admiration and passionate defense of the sublime way all of these volatile elements are joined to create a love story as well as a page-turning thriller. The continued exploration of what it means to be "good", and themany roles God can take in people's lives, is brilliant. A great deal of philosophy, theology and social science are included in this book, but it doesn't seem preachy or didactic. It seems like, and IS, an amazing book that is impossible to put down.(less)
Victoria spent her whole childhood in the foster system, if you could call it a childhood. She is filled with guilt, mistrust and desires...moreJackie says:
Victoria spent her whole childhood in the foster system, if you could call it a childhood. She is filled with guilt, mistrust and desires only solitude when she "ages out" of the system. The one thing that she knows and loves is flowers, and the Victorian language that is based on them. She uses that knowledge to gain a job at a florist, who takes her under her wing and opens the world of possibilities that Victoria never had any access to before and still doesn't trust. Throughout the book we find this reluctant, damaged flower bloom into a woman with a family and a future. This is a wonderful, hopeful, intense read that really tugged at my heart. This is Diffenbaugh's debut novel, which makes it even more impressive. I urge all of you to read it, and I will be definitely eagerly waiting for more from this very talented writer (and foster mother, so she truly knows the foster system that she is describing in this book). (less)
I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewa...moreJackie says:
I am soooooo in love with this book! Josh is an ex-drag queen and writer turned advertising maven, Brent is "Dr Brent" on The Martha Stewart Show. They've been together for almost 10 years and seem to thrive on the big city lifestyle despite their 700 square foot apartment--until they take a wrong turn on a drive and discover The Beekman Mansion. It's HUGE, 200 years old and in need of a whole lot of work--but they want it. Dreams of leisurely weekends away from the city as gentlemen farmers dance merrily in their heads, so they take the plunge. Then Josh sneaks in a caretaker for the place that just happens to have a herd of goats. And, well, if they have goats now, they might as well have chickens. And a cow. And a garden. And then a bigger garden--MUCH bigger. Then a handmade Christmas project became a full on artisan soap company, and Beekman 1802 began--and grew...and grew...and grew. This is a wonderful tale of two Type A personalities taking on the bucolic life big city style, with some bonus ghosts and legions of zombie flies thrown into the mix. It's equal parts inspiring and exhausting, but you can't help but fall in love with these guys and the small town who has come to embrace them. The good news is they have a "docu-series" coming out in June 2010 on Discovery Channel's Planet Green called "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" so the laughs won't have to stop when the book cover closes.
Laura is in the sandwich generation--she's got two kids at home, a thriving nursing career, a loving husband, and a very difficult mother...moreJackie says:
Laura is in the sandwich generation--she's got two kids at home, a thriving nursing career, a loving husband, and a very difficult mother who shut down years ago when Laura's father died. When her mother has a massive stroke, Laura breaks her mother's long held demand for privacy by beginning to read to her the letters her father wrote to her mother years ago, describing their perfect love. Or at least that was always the story. As the letters unfold, a different tale of her parents lives and relationship emerges, and Laura finds she has more in common with her mother than she ever dreamed.(less)
This is a book about a writer's critique group made up of all levels of literati-- historians, popular fiction writers, biographers, poets...moreJackie says:
This is a book about a writer's critique group made up of all levels of literati-- historians, popular fiction writers, biographers, poets, all at various levels in their careers. It's a bit of a literary soap opera with former and current relationships among the members, secrets kept and ideas stolen. There are 7 characters, all well represented, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. I found it thoroughly entertaining.(less)