Book Review: Vox, by Christina Dalcher

Vox, by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Published by Berkley on August 21, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: library

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

One of Entertainment Weekly’s and SheReads’ books to read after The Handmaid’s Tale
One of Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer”

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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How would you feel if you lived in a world where you were only allowed 100 words a day, and going past that allotment means you’d receive an electric shock? I have a lot of feelings about this story, and this review alone is sure to be much longer than 100 words.

“Think about what you need to do to stay free.”

I’m not generally a wordy person. I like to be as concise as possible. When I listen to someone get sidetracked telling a story, I want to shake them back on track. Tangents, overly long description, and extraneous information drive me crazy. In a group conversation, I am quieter than most. I think so long before speaking that everyone else is on a new thread before I’m ready to jump into the previous one. Supposedly, the average woman speaks 20,000 words in a day compared to 7,000 for the average man.  Maybe that is true, but my husband would attest to the fact that he speaks far more in a day than I ever do. I’m perfectly happy to sit in silence. But I thoroughly appreciate the freedom I have to express myself when I choose to, to read and write and speak and have my voice be heard.

I obviously knew what the premise of Vox was before picking it up, but I was surprised by just how palpably I reacted when I began reading. Dalcher used her words well, setting the scene in such a way that the tension oozed out of the page. I could feel my fists and jaw clenching, heart racing, and breath hitching. As I was drawn into Jean’s story, I imagined how I would react to certain events, and she inevitably behaved very similarly to how I would have. This not only made her quite empathetic in my eyes but also helped me to more easily forgive her for weaknesses or flaws that appeared later on.

The villain in Vox is Carl Corbin, an extremely conservative Christian who has managed to assert his values over America by weaseling his way into power. While not specifically stated, it is implied that this happened because of people who stuck their head in the sand and didn’t stand up for their rights and others when they had the chance. This packed a punch for me on many levels.

For one, I am a Christian. As a woman in modern times, there are already aspects of this that I wrestle with. And there are a wide variety of denominations under the Christian umbrella, not all of which hold the same beliefs about gender roles that this one particular man or group do. Additionally, voter turnout in the United States was at nearly its lowest point in the 2016 presidential elections, and I’m abashed to admit that I was part of the statistic who did not cast a ballot. So I found myself grappling with my preconceived attitudes and actions against the potential outcome envisioned in these pages.

There were many important issues Dalcher addressed in Vox, many of which really hit home for me. As far as the story goes, the concept, characters, and first half of the plot were extremely strong, while the second half began to falter and the ending felt a bit rushed. Ultimately, though, the writing kept me gripped and I am still thinking about the story long after finishing it. Definitely recommended.

5-b&w

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: Vox, by Christina Dalcher

  1. I don’t want this to come off as an accusatory tone over the internet, but I wanted to ask why you chose not to vote. I know people do not vote for many reasons: they don’t have a vehicle to get to the voting location, they have to work during the same hours at the voting location is open, they feel like their vote doesn’t count anyway. Are you going to vote during the midterm election? in my lifetime we have had the electoral college she was a president who was not elected by the majority of people in the US, and thus I can totally understand why people feel like their vote doesn’t count. Neither W. Bush (the second time) nor Trump were actually the popular vote, and here we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are a few reasons why I didn’t vote. The biggest being that I did choose to vote in previous elections and have felt more than once that my vote didn’t make any difference in the outcome. I also quite honestly felt strongly that I didn’t like any of the options. Some people have said that they chose who they felt was the “lesser evil,” but I had trouble trying to make that choice. I probably won’t vote during the midterm election but will start paying more attention for the future.
      Also, I really appreciate how you asked the question, framing it as a conversation instead of an accusation.

      Like

      1. You’re welcome! I feel like the internet is an accusatory place. I taught rhetoric for 10 years, so I understand fair and ethical debating. The internet makes me miserable because we’ve somehow trained ourselves to want to “win,” whatever that means.

        Here is what I do know about the mid-term elections: 15 women are running for governor, which is an unprecedented number. More LGBT people are running. I’m excited, personally. If you ever want to talk politics in a non-judgmental way, let me know. I like having a conversation about an interesting part of our country.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG I’m so happy you loved this book as much as I did! And I grew up in a Christian family and community as well so I understand where you stand. The novel reflected on so many issues I dont even know where to start the discussion 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful review, Nicole! 😮 I think the length of this review alone speaks volume to how much you connected with this story. I was also amazed by the premise of this book when I first heard of it, but I’ve seen so many mixed reviews for it, and it was usually both ends of the spectrum (absolutely love or absolutely hate). I’m glad to see that in your case, it was a far more positive experience! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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