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When She Woke Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 4, 2011
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“Jordan manages to open up powerful feminist and political themes without becoming overly preachy—and the parallels with Hawthorne are fun to trace.”—Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews )
“Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it, and savvy educators will pair it with Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. Essential.”—Library Journal
(Library Journal )
“Jordan blends hot-button issues such as separation of church and state, abortion, and criminal justice with an utterly engrossing story, driven by a heroine as layered and magnetic as Hester Prynne herself, and reminiscent, too, of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). Absolutely a must-read.”—Booklist, starred review (Booklist )
“[A] provocative, politically charged novel... [Hannah’s] journey to reclaim herself is equally chilling and riveting.”—Family Circle (Family Circle )
“It reads like a thriller, and one that makes you think hard, to boot. I’ve already placed this one on my favorite-books-for-book-clubs list.”—The Book Case (The Book Case )
“An utterly engrossing story, driven by a heroine as layered and magnetic as Hester Prynne herself, and reminiscent, too, of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Absolutely a must-read.”
—Booklist, starred review
“The Scarlet Letter could unfurl from no better a speculative pen than that held by Hillary Jordan. She takes the seeds of that story and roots them in a world where ‘right to life’ is the law of the land . . . The result . . . is as compulsively readable as it is thought-provoking.”
—The Denver Post
“In the chillingly credible tomorrowland of Jordan’s second novel, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion has been criminalized in 42 states and a vigilante group known as the Fist of Christ brutalizes violators . . . Jordan’s feverishly conceived dystopia holds its own alongside the dark inventions of Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Hannah’s fight for freedom is both a sober warning and a gripping page-turner. Already it reads like a classic.” —AARP
“Jordan’s take on the hot button issues of our time—separation of church and state, abortion, an imperfect criminal justice system—is compelling.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“An inventive tale about a new America that has lost its way . . . When She Woke is, at its heart, a tense, energetic and lively paced story about self-discovery and reclamation in the wake of enormous shame. It is a story about the price of love.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] provocative, politically charged novel . . . [Hannah’s] journey to reclaim herself is equally chilling and riveting.” —Family Circle
“Will spark many an intriguing book club discussion.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Top Customer Reviews
A conviction of murder in this alternate future earns the convict a red skin tint for the length of their sentence, allowing them to live a public life filled with prejudice and hardship. This sentence unburdens the government of cost and responsibility. There is no separation of church and state. Society has become puritanical.
This book is derivative; not just of "The Scarlet Letter" but of many other dystopian novels. The Handmaid's Tale, Children of Men, We, all come to mind. Though I generally love these kinds of novels, the total lack of originality in this book did drop it a star for me.
Without giving away too much, a major theme in this book is abortion and with a pro-choice slant. I don't think conservative readers will enjoy it much.
The writing was good, the characters interesting, the evolution of Hannah was well-paced. It moved quickly and was generally satisfying. I'm not raving about it, but I enjoyed it, and it has definitely piqued my interest in Mudbound.
Review: As you may have surmised from the summary, this novel is a retelling of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. Hannah Payne/Hester Prynne, Reverend Dale/Dimmesdale, etc. The mean-spirited husband of that tale has been swapped for a bigoted brother-in-law, but much of the debate about sin, suffering, and personal faith remain. The setting and general atmosphere, however, are lifted right from Margaret Atwood's heavy-handed dystopian fantasy The Handmaid's Tale. The legal atmosphere of the novel is incredibly misogynistic, the religious right holds the country in a tyrannical grip, and everything from wearing short skirts to questioning male opinions is a sin. Basically, it's your liberal atheist's worst nightmare. Most of the religious figures are incredibly hypocritical and cruel, and the 'good' characters are persecuted by them.
I waver back and forth on my opinion of the messages in this novel.Read more ›
First off, this isn't what I would identify as a bad book. The writing is pretty well done, for the most part. The concepts are excellent, particularly the whole idea of Chroming. I found this to be not only an interesting premise, but one that was rather scary because it seems like a possibility. I was very impressed by the depth of the world the author built, at the complicated factions at play here. Jordan has obviously tackled a very ambitious project but the problem is that, while her elements when taken singularly are very intriguing, there are just too many of them all put together. At times, I felt like this book was one of those European tours, where you get off a bus, take a look at a monument, and then get back on the bus so that it can take you to the next monument. It felt like Hannah as moving through the world not so much because the plot required it but because Jordan wanted to highlight certain features of the society she created.
First of all, we have Chroming. This was such a great idea, in theory. I was really curious to find out what life would be like for those who had been Chromed. In fact, I could imagine an entire novel dealing solely with this aspect of the book.Read more ›
Abortion is illegal in this dystopia, and those who are convicted of the crime are punished by being injected with viral DNA which turns their skin "the solid, declarative red of a stop sign." Other crimes warrant other colors, but the stigmatized "chromes" become societal outcasts, bearing the signature color of their transgressions for everyone to see.
Blood-red but not bowed, Hannah sets off on a series of adventures that take her from a halfway house whose proprietors try to inculcate in her the puritanical social and religious doctrines espoused by the government (no separation of church and state in this dystopia, nosirree) to an underground railroad implemented by some covert but rebellious and prickly feminists. Along the way, Hannah endures various forms of social ostracism and cruelty, including kidnapping and attempted rape, has a lesbian affair, gains then loses (but will she regain???) a friend who is also chromed, and reunites with Reverend Dale at least long enough to tell him a thing or two about love and truth.
In short, this morality tale is long on political and religious diatribe but short on character development, dialogue, description, and believable plot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The premise of a near-future scenario such as this is chilling because it seems quite possible. Like The Handmaid's Tale, this book leaves you thinking while also being a riveting... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Mark Bellusci
This book has its strong points that keep you wanting more. It is a good book but at times I couldn't quite hang on.Published 19 days ago by Tasha Muterspaugh
Timely and beautiful. One of the best books I've read all year. Hester Prynne would have been proud of Hannah PaynePublished 22 days ago by D. C. Ash
Being from the south, I have regularly witnessed the viewpoints demonstrated in the book. I appreciated the way Jordan was able to examine these viewpoints from several different... Read morePublished 26 days ago by dkl1992
When She Woke is not the kind of book I usually choose. Generally I prefer historical novels, but I was intrigued by the sample which led me into a United States in the near... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Dixiemagnolia
As an adaptation of the Scarlet Letter, I love it. A page turner.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I read this book a while ago. Still a favorite. Read it! You won't regret it.Published 2 months ago by Jocelyn