Emily's Reviews > When She Woke

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
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's review
Jun 19, 2012

it was amazing
Read on June 19, 2012

A retelling of the Scarlet Letter in a modern, dystopian America. This book was fantastic -- and a bit concerning. America has become a theocratic society. 42 states have passed a law completely criminalizing abortion in all cases. Hannah, our Hester, is convicted of the murder of her unborn child and sentenced to live 16 years as a "Red;" additional years were added to the ten-year minimum murder sentence for refusing to reveal the name of the child's father, and the name of the person who performed her abortion. Instead of an A, her entire body is dyed red using a virus. The entire country can watch her reaction as she see her new self for the first time; upon her release into the world (for prisions have been abolished for all but the most dangerous offenders) they can type her name into a website and track her movements any where, making her a target for violence. The court tells Hannah that "chroming" is really a blessing. It gives the sinners (each dyed a hue to correspond to their crime) time for reflection and penance, by constantly reminding them of their transgressions.

This book is so vivid because many of the problems Hannah discusses as she goes through her journey are similar to those we are facing now in women's issues. Sure, this is more hyperbolic, but the rhetoric of those she meets is not at all fiction. A must read.
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