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madbkwm

madbkwm

When She Woke - Hillary Jordan I think I agree with Jordan's overall message, but I'm not 100% sure. I want to believe that she thinks that organized religion and extreme right wing behaviors are wrong on many levels and that anything that limits personal freedoms (it's personal) should not be allowed. However, I think her alternate thesis is still religious based (after all even Simone has a God) and ultimately I think that all religious behavior is simply a means through which idiots can be controlled.

Clearly, with a one star rating, I have lots of complaints. First, is the obvious question of why didn't they use birth control. After all, neither Aidan nor Hannah are stupid, they are having an illicit affair, and abortion is highly illegal; how in this case does one end up with an "oops" baby?

Second, I was confused about the "halfway" house to which Hannah goes after leaving "jail". What, exactly is the point of this place? Besides sadistic entertainment for Mrs. Henley? After all, the girls never leave the premises and are not taught any new skills so how, exactly, is staying there for 6 months going to help them get a job? If it just to bide time during their sentence, what is the difference between these "halfway" houses and traditional jails (which are supposed to be eliminated due to the melachroming)? And, if it is to give the families/friends of the melachromed time to find them jobs and places to live, why wouldn't they allow them to live at home? And why wouldn't they start to look for jobs/housing as soon as the loved one is chromed? Rather than waiting for them to get out? It just seemed like there was no real argument for Hannah (or any of the women) to be there other than as a plot mechanism to show the reader a)the whole world hates chromed people and will torture for entertainment and b)as a way for Hannah to meet Kayla.

Third, I think her feminist arguments fall the way of her religious ones. Instead of coming around to an "each his own" viewpoint (with which I could agree), I felt like Jordan was trying to establish a new (but still fundamentally God based) order.

Finally, I wasn't sure why Aiden is so against melachroming. I think that it is not a terrible idea as an alternative to incarceration and it might certainly have uses for thieves (if you see a neon green person walking in your store, beware they might try to steal something), but I think Aiden is against the "scarlet lettering" of Hannah for her abortion. I think Aiden is really upset about the fact that abortion and extra-marital affairs are illegal, not that melachroming is bad. This is just an example of the ways in which Jordan frequently lumps categories and stereotypes in her quest to "open our eyes" against stereotypes through this novel.

Clearly, Jordan is against the extreme right wing religious sects, but I found the language throughout oppressive and annoying. I get that Jordan was purposely going over the top, but I just didn't want to read it.

As an aside, the Chrome cells reminded me a bit of the cells in the bad (but fascinating to watch) reality TV show "Solitary".

Overall, too simplified and preachy without any redeeming points.