Celeste's Reviews > When She Woke

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
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really liked it
bookshelves: dystopian

Warning: Due to the heavy religious tone of the book, this review is going to be religious in nature and will in large part be a discussion of my faith. If you’re offended by this, please feel free to skip reading this particular review.

Some books disturb you psychologically. For authors like King and Koontz and Barker, that psychological fear is their bread and butter, and many of us will pay good money to be frightened. But then there are the books that disturb you on a moral level. A spiritual level. And often, though I’m sure not always, these books are not written with marketing in mind. These books are written because the author has something to say and will burst if they don’t get to vent their anger and concern and fear onto paper, and it doesn’t really matter to them if no one ever reads a word of it. But books like this, like 1984 and The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 and The Handmaid's Tale, will always be picked up but a like-minded reader and passed on to like-minded friends, and perhaps even friends whose minds have rusted shut at the hinges, hinges that creak open reluctantly with every page they read. Because the unknown is always questioned and feared, and what greater unknown is there than the future? If we read to know that we’re not alone, we also read (and write) to know that we’re not alone in our questions and our fears.

When She Woke disturbed me on a moral and spiritual level. Here is a society where religion is king, and has begun to mandate law. I’m a Christian. I believe that God is real, that He created everything that exists, that He is involved in our lives, that He sent His Son to die so we could have freedom and eternity, that life is sacred, that I have been blessed beyond measure, that He has been there with me in my darkest hours and that I will never have to suffer anything alone. I believe all these things with all of my heart. And yet the only thing that scares me as much as a world where religion is outlawed is a world in which religion is THE law. God created us with free will, with the inalienable right to choose for ourselves whether or not we will follow Him, and that’s a right that no government on earth should have the power to take away. To quote the book itself:

“You don’t have to stop thinking and asking questions to believe in God, child. If He’d wanted a flock of eight billion sheep, He wouldn’t have given us opposable thumbs, much less free will.”


I’m not going to get into the plot of the book itself here, though I will say that the comparison made on the back cover claiming the story is “The Scarlet Letter by way of The Handmaid’s Tale” is completely accurate. It was a well-written, thought provoking story that will stick with you long after you finish the last page, and I’m glad I read it. I will say, however, that this book made me incredibly sad. Please be aware that this was not Christian fiction, but is instead a book that portrays Christianity as one of its villains. It’s hard to see your faith twisted in such a way that it ruins the lives of others, even if those lives and others are fictional. Christians can be some of the most unforgiving and judgmental people on the planet, which has to infuriate Jesus. He spent His time with fishermen and tax collectors and prostitutes and beggars, with the poor and the broken and those rejected by society. He was despised by those who should have recognized Him, and He died for it. Thankfully, that death couldn’t hold Him and He rose again three days later, but that doesn’t negate the pain and torment He endured at the hands of the very people He had come to save. And if He had chosen to come a couple thousand years later, I think He would have met the same fate; it just would have been televised. Todd Agnew wrote in one of his songs that “My Jesus would never be accepted in my church; the blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet.” Harsh, but true.

Jesus told His disciples on the night of His arrest, “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35) THAT is supposed to be how the world knows we’re Christians. Not by the words we spout or the bumper stickers on our cars or the way we look down our noses at others. And I hope and I pray every single day that people see the love of Jesus in me when I interact with them, not judgement or hatred. Because Jesus doesn’t hate. God doesn’t hate. God is love. And if we remember this, if we do our best each day to live this, then the future forecast in this book will never become a reality.

For more of my reviews, as well as my own fiction and thoughts on life, check out my blog, Celestial Musings.
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Reading Progress

March 26, 2017 – Started Reading
March 26, 2017 – Shelved
March 27, 2017 –
page 120
34.88% "This book is so disturbing."
March 28, 2017 –
page 320
93.02% ""You don't have to stop thinking and asking questions to believe in God, child. If He'd wanted a flock of eight billion sheep, He wouldn't have given us opposable thumbs, much less free will.""
March 28, 2017 – Shelved as: dystopian
March 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)

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message 1: by Lena (new)

Lena This is my FAVORITE of all your reviews.


Celeste Aw, thank you so much Lena!! That means a lot. :)


message 3: by Minni Mouse (new)

Minni Mouse I shall add...because this sounds disturbingly important to read :)


message 4: by Petrik (new)

Petrik fantastic review dear!! :D


Celeste It'll make you think, Minni.


Celeste Thank you, Petrik my love!


message 7: by Minni Mouse (new)

Minni Mouse By the way, I don't think you need the disclaimer about the religious content in your review. There's nothing wrong with sharing your faith in your review, particularly when you've done it so truthful and respectfully :)


Celeste Well thank you, Minni. I just wanted to cover my bases for those who are a bit touchier. But I really appreciate knowing that you were in no way offended. :)


message 9: by Jason (new)

Jason Great review! I'm not religious myself but I always remain open to hearing points of view from other people. I particularly lovvvve your last paragraph, couldn't agree more. :)


message 10: by Minni Mouse (new)

Minni Mouse Giiirl, the Christian aspect is why I read your review and added it. Not enough of my update feed contains Christian material!


message 11: by Petrik (new)

Petrik Minni Mouse wrote: "By the way, I don't think you need the disclaimer about the religious content in your review. There's nothing wrong with sharing your faith in your review, particularly when you've done it so truth..."

that's really cool of you Minni! but seriously... some people these days get triggered on the tiniest things so it never hurt to be safe, just my opinion though! :D


Celeste Thank you so much, Jason!


Celeste Haha, that's awesome, Minni. Whenever you decide to read it, let me know!


message 14: by Doreen (new)

Doreen Petersen Celeste I think it's wonderful you read something about your faith and are sharing it with others.


Celeste Thank you, Doreen. :)


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ A beautiful review Celeste! I'm so glad for fiction like this because even if it was disturbing on a couple different levels for you, this kind of fiction makes us think about what we believe. Great job my love! <3


message 17: by ☽Luna☾ (new)

☽Luna☾ Awesome review lovely !


Celeste Thank you, Mary darling! I love stories that make me stop and think and that stay with me. This one will. ;)

Thank you, Sarah my love! <3


message 19: by Caleb (new)

Caleb M. This was an amazing and inspirational review. Truly. You have a wonderful way with words. I applaud you highly. Its nice to see someone who isn't scared to talk about their faith, and to do so respectfully, and truthfully. I think I have lots to learn from you :)


Celeste Aw, thank you so much, Caleb! That's a huge compliment, and I really appreciate it!


message 21: by Jody (new)

Jody Well said Celeste! Amazing review! :)


Celeste Thank you, Jody! :)


message 23: by Haïfa (new)

Haïfa What a beautiful review Celeste my darling!
And yes, I only see love and caring and humility in the way you interact with people !! <3


message 24: by ijeoma Agbaje (new)

ijeoma Agbaje definitely intrigued.. lovely and thought provoking review


Celeste Thank you, Haïfa my dear. That's really kind of you to say! :-*

Thanks, Sade!


message 26: by Ginger (new)

Ginger Great review Celeste!! I'll have to check this one out.


Celeste Thank you, Ginger! :)


Celeste Thanks, Craig! Glad you liked it! :)


Celeste Minni Mouse wrote: "Giiirl, the Christian aspect is why I read your review and added it. Not enough of my update feed contains Christian material!"

Just to clarify, Minni, this is definitely not a Christian book. Christianity is cast in a horrible light here. Didn't want to mislead you. I added that into my review. :)


message 30: by Tammie (new)

Tammie I agree with Minni, I don't think you need the disclaimer either. And amen to what you said about being a Christian and how we Christian's should behave towards others and in our
every day lives.


Celeste Thank you, Tammie. I appreciate that. I know that people have been incredibly touchy on this site lately, so I just wanted to cover my bases. ;)


message 32: by Tosh (new)

Tosh Wonderful review Celeste!!


message 33: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Lovely review, Celeste. <3


Celeste Thank you, Tosh! Thanks, Melissa!


message 35: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Espinoza Wow, this is a really great review. Thank you.


Celeste Thank you, Amanda! :)


message 37: by Mwanamali (new)

Mwanamali Great review. I am a Christian myself and agree with you wholeheartedly. I saw no need for the disclaimer as there is nothing at all offensive in your review.


Celeste Thank you, Mwanamali. I might remove the disclaimer when people on the site stop fighting quite so much. I just don't want to be the cause of any. :)


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this. Thank you so much.


Celeste Aw, thank YOU so much, Margaret! <3


message 41: by Manuel (new) - added it

Manuel I. GOD BLESS YOU CELESTE!! If only we, as God's true children, had the same courage and wisdom you display in expressing yourself, what miracles of change would this world experience and see thtough God's power!! Amen? May the Lord keep you in His grace and favor always!!


Celeste Thank you so much, Manuel! That's incredibly kind of you, and your comment is wonderful. :)


message 43: by Lena (new)

Lena I think the disclaimer was a good idea because it lets everyone know where you are coming from. I'd be interested to read a review on this with a different disclaimer (or let's say Notice) like:

...as a Muslim women
...as a California Caucasian Buddhist
...as a lifelong atheist
...as a Scientologist
Etc


Celeste Glad you agree, Lena. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. I'd love to read reviews from the perspectives you listed, just to see how differently we read the same book!


Kristen I'm hard core atheist - and I LOVED your review. For what it's worth. I wish more people felt as you do.


Celeste Thank you so much, Kristen. I really appreciate that!


Verylazydaisy Loved this book and loved your review


Celeste Thank you so much! 😁


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