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July 2018: Dystopian > Red Clocks/Zumas - 5 stars

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message 1: by Anita (last edited Jul 08, 2018 09:44AM) (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6748 comments Red Clocks follows the lives of four women: the biographer, the wife, the mender, and the daughter shortly after a constitutional amendment has passed that has made abortion and IVF illegal and is about to make adoption by a single parent illegal as well.

While Red Clocks presumably focuses on the current "hot button" issue of abortion, for me this book provides more of a retrospective on the many ways in which women have been relegated, in times past, to a role of "less than" in society. The characterization of one woman (the mender) as a "witch" and another (the wife) as an unhappy housewife I believe to be examples of how women have been trapped and persecuted in the past. The biographer struggles with an all consuming desire to have a child while writing a book about a female polar explorer who is again, limited by pre-defined gender roles. There's an irony to the biographer's desire to be a mother as she writes a book about a woman trying to shake off the traditional female role in favor of exploration and adventure.

It's also interesting to look at the tension between the women themselves. The women intersect in interesting ways, torn between their own desires, judgements, and experiences and empathy for their fellow women. (view spoiler).

For me, all of this interplay was very interesting and the dystopian premise was probably the weakest part. The subtleties of the story where the true nature of feminism is revealed made the book more meaningful. I loved the structure and the writing itself. I think there is an underlying message here that we women are oftentimes our own worst enemies and not as united in our collective feminist drives as we might think we are.

The ending of the book is beautifully done - - a capstone on writing that felt fresh to me:

"She wants more than one thing."

Does that not summarize the entire truth of the female human experience in the most simple possible way?


message 2: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6400 comments Love this review. The entire buddy read has put this book high on my tbr.


message 3: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments What a wonderful review of a book I just loved Anita. You have really encapsulated exactly how I felt. I will get to my review some time soon, before my thoughts fade.


message 4: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. | 1497 comments great review, Anita.


message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6748 comments Thank you, BC, Susie, and Nicole for the nice compliments on the review! You can tell I really liked it . . .as a graduate of an all women's college, I think I saw up front and personal how women can be the best support for one another, but also the conflicts that can arise from differing world views. But in the end, so many of us were simultaneously wildly ambitious, but equally eager for love and family. Oddly, how to do this juggling was rarely discussed, and it has been interesting over the years to hear about roads not taken and regrets as well as paths chosen and successes. And some people did have it all and many of us chose one way or the other. This book reminded me so much of the unique tensions that women face as they go through life . . .and I felt a little like the abortion angle was more of a marketing hook than the true thrust of the story. Regardless, I really really liked it.


message 6: by Hebah (last edited Jul 09, 2018 07:07AM) (new)

Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments Oh wow. I've been on the fence about reading this book, but that line "She wants more than one thing" makes me think I would really like the themes of this story. Onto Mt TBR it goes!

ETA: Oh. It was already on my TBR from several months ago. Good job, Me.


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Such a lovely review. Glad to see it has more nutrition than a political thought experiment. You have me looking for a copy.


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