Number of pages: 328
This is a book that I was keen on reading for ages, and which has been compared to The Handmaid's Tale. In this book's alternative, dystopian version of America, women and girls are not allowed to talk more than 100 words a day, and this is regulated by wristbands that they wear, breaches punished by electric shocks.
I thought this was going to be an anti-male novel, but I noticed that the book was more scathing about religion; thus, several of the male characters came across as sympathetic, and the country was controlled by religious fundamentalists who believed this was the right way to go.
Christina Dalcher had also thought of a lot ways in which the female characters could be oppressed, and in one of the flashbacks, she described three woman being arrested for having a conversation in sign language, in an attempt to get around the restrictions. The America depicted in this book felt like a combination of 1984 and The Scarlet Letter, with other characters being arrested for fornication, and even being gay.
The sections of this book that I enjoyed most involved the home life of its heroine, Jean, and its depictions of what how the dystopian society affected her and her daughter. The plot evolved into a storyline about Jean being involved in a research project that I struggled with at times.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, though, despite it being challenging at times. It was narrated by Jean throughout, and a lot of the time I found that I was kept guessing, and there were a number of surprise twists that I did not see coming. The ending was pleasantly upbeat, and I might consider reading Christina Dalcher's upcoming book, Q.
Next book: Schrödinger and the Quantum Witch (R.E. McLean)