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"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

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"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 Book 310: VOX by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher
ISBN: 9780440000785 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780440000822 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525643746 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B079WQK537 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: August 21, 2018 



Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end. 
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. 

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Imagine waking up one morning, going to work and being told you're no longer eligible to work anymore simply because you're female. Then imagine being told that you're limited to only 100 spoken words a day, you're not allowed to use sign language of any kind, you can't write notes, and you're not allowed access to cell phones, computers, or your bank account. If you're unmarried, you must get married and if you're part of the LGBTQIA population, you will be sent away to special camps and you're children -- biological or adopted, will be taken away from you. No this isn't a world in the distant future, this is America in the near future and the Christian right has taken charge and nothing seems to be standing in their way. Now imagine that something tragic reportedly happens to a member of the President's extended family and the only people that can help are two female scientists and they're expected to come up with a vaccine to treat the problem in an incredibly short period of time. The good news is that their "counters" will be removed and they'll be allowed to freely speak to their families and fellow researchers. The bad news is that the vaccine and the research may well be used for nefarious purposes by the government. The question becomes will they or won't they help? Is there anything they can possibly do to stop the government from continuing to go off half-cocked?

Dr. Jean McClellan is a neurolinguist and has been married for more than 18 years to Patrick, a medical doctor. Patrick is now a high ranking official in the current presidential regime, their eldest son, Steven, is a proud member of the Pure Boys movement that monitors and reports on others in area schools and within their community, and their daughter Sonia is only being taught what is deemed necessary to become a good wife and mother. All Jean wants is for things to go back to normal and she knows that although she hasn't been able to be outspoken in the past, she must do everything possible to force a change...no matter what.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is a powerful and scary book. In some ways, it is reminiscent of both The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan and in others, it is very different. All three books feature dystopian societies where ultraconservative religious groups are in power and forcing their societal and moral visions on others. Adding to the drama within Vox is the notion that females should be seen and not heard and are penalized if they go over their 100 words per day with ever-increasing electric shocks via their "counters" attached to their wrists (yes, even infants and young girls). Obviously, there's a lot more going on in this story than just the societal injustices and the silencing of females, Jean and her husband Patrick are experiencing marital problems, there's an extramarital affair resulting in a pregnancy, and much more. I found Vox to be a fast-paced and highly engrossing read (I woke up very early one morning, began reading it, and simply couldn't stop until the very end). I enjoyed the characters, the dialogue, the settings, and the action. If you enjoy reading about family angst and drama coupled with societal injustice with touches of dystopian science-fiction and a pinch of horror, then Vox is the perfect read for you. (This book has a little bit of something for everyone.) I highly recommend this book to everyone as I feel it is a timely and worthwhile read, hopefully, you'll agree. For now, I'll be setting aside Vox and hope to reread it again in the near future (yes, I enjoy rereading books!). I also look forward to reading more from Ms. Dalcher.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the



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