MadProfessah's Reviews > The Power

The Power by Naomi Alderman
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2018-read

A very thought-provoking work of speculative fiction which attempts to portray a scenario where women develop a power to inflict pain and grievous bodily harm (primarily through self-generated electric shock), that results in a world where gender roles are upended and women become the dominant sex.

The key strengths of the book are its setting and the ways in which the author riffs off aspects of our culture and societal norms in depicting how the world in the book is impacted by the sudden change in the power dynamics between the sexes. Would women really abuse and sexually dominate men if the roles were reversed and women now have the power to physically harm men whenever they want? In the world depicted in Naomi Alderman’s THE POWER, the answer is a full-throated yes.

A key weakness of the book is the depiction of the characters around which the story is centered. For the most part, there was no character that I identified with strongly enough to become emotionally invested in their future. The one exception is the primary male character, Tunde, a Nigerian boy who turns into scampi’s journalist and chronicler of the extraordinary events resulting from the discovery of The Power by women. Tunde was interesting and I definitely cared about what happened to him but as for the other characters, Ricky, Darrel, Allie, Roxy, Jocelyn and Margot, not to much.

It wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I noticed another interesting feature. The entire work is characterized as a work of fiction by a guy called Adam who is exchanging letters about the book with someone named Naomi, who are reacting about the ideas depicted in the story from the position that women being the dominant sex is perfectly natural and the idea that men could be soldiers and commit atrocities on women is entirely fanciful and somewhat titillating. It’s the inclusion of clever subversions of gender like this which makes THE POWER a compelling, if flawed, read.
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Reading Progress

November 22, 2017 – Shelved
November 22, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
July 15, 2018 – Started Reading
July 15, 2018 –
page 18
5.28% "Interesting writing style."
July 16, 2018 –
page 68
19.94% "It’s not very thought provoking yet..."
July 17, 2018 –
page 95
27.86%
July 18, 2018 –
page 163
47.8% "Hmmm starting to use different kinds of texts to tell the story."
July 19, 2018 –
page 202
59.24% "Hmmm “The coming Gender War”"
July 21, 2018 –
page 281
82.4% "Hmmmm, a gender-reversed dictatorship."
July 21, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 22, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-read

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