Can I just say how much I love being a Little Brown Ambassador?!! Thank you so much to Little, Brown and Company for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.
This novel is outstanding! I have not read another book like this. Yes, it’s feminist—in the sense that these women rule their own lives within the confines of the law. Yes, it’s dystopian—in the sense that these same laws are not in effect in the United States today. But, this story was the most realistic dystopian novel I’ve ever read.
Red Clocks takes place in the near future in the fictional town of Newville, near Salem Oregon. It is written from four main female perspectives: the biographer, the mender, the daughter, and the wife. The Personhood Amendment had just been passed, granting constitutional rights to a fertilized egg at the time of conception. Because of this law, abortions and in vitro fertilization have been banned as the fetus cannot give consent to such procedures. Also, a new law will soon go into effect called Every Child Needs Two, which only allows couples to adopt. As you read, you observe how these women deal with these laws as they apply to their own lives.
I enjoyed reading about each of these women as they led their very different lives. The biographer is one of my favorite characters; she is witty but at the same time very sad and I was able to empathize with her greatly. The mender (aka “The Witch”), was another favorite of mine, as she uses her herbal remedies to help women that sought medical help. The daughter, a teenager in high school, and the wife, who has two children but feels trapped in an unhappy marriage, were very fleshed out and added to the overall story.
I enjoyed the novel’s unique structure including the interludes of the biographer’s novel. The character development is excellent. The more I read, slowly but surely, the more I became invested in each character. I love that you start out just knowing these women’s roles in society rather than their names, but over the course of the story, you learn who they are and how they connect to one another.
To me, Red Clocks has a very Atwoodian feel only because it seems so well researched. I got the same eerie feeling when I read books like The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake: the feeling, if you really thought about it, that THIS COULD HAPPEN. Zumas definitely did her homework.
I really appreciated the complexity of the story; it not only focused on women’s rights but also motherhood, identity, and fertility issues. This novel is brilliant and extremely relevant in today’s world. I recommend this book to everyone but especially people who love dystopia, feminist reads, or who are just curious how the world would look if women lost their reproductive rights. You NEED to read this!
I rate this book 5 / 5 stars!
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