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When She Woke
"Jordan blends hot-button issues such as separation of Church and State,...
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Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Created: 10/21/12

Replies: 20

Posted Oct. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

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Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

[When She Woke] explores a lot of big, thorny issues: abortion, faith, governmental control, sexuality, discrimination. Would you call this primarily a political novel, or is it more a coming-of-age story about one young woman's personal journey?


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I would consider it a political novel .... and a rather convincing one. The ones who should be convinced, however, won't be the ones who understand it is a political novel.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I didn't see this as a political novel...more of a cautionary tale. A caution of extreme right politics or extreme religious leanings, I am not sure. Maybe its difficult to separate the two. But it did prompt me to think about where our country is headed in regards to overcrowded prisons, how we deal with criminals and what would lead us to consider that abortion is the worst crime


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
garyr

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 10

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

By all means a political story and quite possibly a precursor of what might happen if some certain politicos get elected.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 24

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Hillary Jordan painted a picture of a future that is entirely plausible. It was like a synopsis of what women authors like Marilyn French and Margaret Atwood have been writing about for years -- only the sense of urgency is stronger. My thought is this is less a political novel than a very personal way of voicing the many, many things going wrong right now that we are all carrying around in our heads, but too busy to actually sit down and address.

In some ways I felt it was a wake up call -- in a format that is easier to digest then a New York Times article.


Posted Oct. 24, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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martie

Join Date: 09/20/12

Posts: 2

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I think it's more political, and zealous religiosity has won the day "above ground." It's the wave of the future if we aren't careful. There are hints of this book in today's reality.


Posted Oct. 24, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
monicaw

Join Date: 10/24/12

Posts: 10

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I think it is both. Jordan paints a portrait of an America that has been nearly completely taken over by the conservative religious right which tends to marginalize women and see them merely as mothers and caretakers. It can be viewed as a cautionary tale. Women can lose their rights all to easily. Their lives are controlled by their family and then their husband. Hannah secretly tried to resist, but maintained the facade of the good girl until her relationship with Aiden. All of her experiences helped her to become the woman she is at the end of the novel. One of my favorite sections was on pages 268- 269 where she realizes that either by not fighting or simply going along with what she had been taught was the problem. She sees that her life was a series of boxes and now for the first time she decides to be truly free. Becoming a Red, a marginal figure was the making of her.


Posted Oct. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debrap

Join Date: 10/26/12

Posts: 14

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Definitely political in my view..the similarities between the extremely fundamental christian right and the shaping of our democracy have never been more real than they are today. This book is just a really good futuristic look at what may be to come.


Posted Oct. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I think it was the authors way of voicing concern over where she sees the country is heading. I usually do not like futuristic novels but this one, as did 2030, really captured my attention. I though there was a lesson in it for all of us as we have seen in the past some pretty unfair, unjust and crazy things have happened.


Posted Oct. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jknapp

Join Date: 04/11/11

Posts: 37

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

In my opinion this is a novel making a strong political statement. Given the current election year controversies over abortion and the ideas of separation of church and state, this book seems to mirror the current issues. Hopefully, we as a country, will never become this kind of society.


Posted Oct. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethm

Join Date: 06/05/12

Posts: 35

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I agree that it is both a political novel and coming-of-age. I think that Hannah, after her decision to have an affair with Aidan and her incarceration, went through a rapid version of the transition that most of us go through when we leave home and examine the things we have always believed, to determine whether we truly believe those things or have just been influenced by our families.


Posted Oct. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I think that its a political novel and the author is using the novel to talk about where she thinks the world is headed. Unfortunately much of what went on in the book seems very possible in the future based on some of the things that are currently going on in reality


Posted Oct. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyt

Join Date: 10/19/12

Posts: 5

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I believe it's a combination-- not only is it a political novel (very much so), but it's also a story of Hannah learning that she is where she is because of the series of decisions she has made. I like the fact that she was able to take ownership of her own life that way.


Posted Nov. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 38

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I feel it was cautionary and thus in a way political. I would not call it coming of age as the time span in the story was short and the reader is still left wondering about Hannah's future.


Pegh
Posted Nov. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 26

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Is it OK for me to turn the discussion a different way? These days it seems books must have an over-arcing theme, i.e., a political novel, a coming-of-age story, exploring what it means to be a family, etc. Is that primarily a marketing tool to sell books? Can't a writer just think of a good idea and write a good story anymore without having to categorize it? It seems that most synopses I read these days are aiming for these lofty goals. While I'm not against books like that, sometimes I just want a good story.


Posted Nov. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

JeanneW: You raise an interesting point. I think most in publishing would agree that it is a great deal easier to sell a book to a publisher if it fits into a recognizable niche., not least because it's much easier for the publisher to then sell the book to the booksellers and public when it fits into a category that the booksellers know will sell and the public know they want.

There are endless stories of the difficulties authors have had selling a book because it didn't fit into a particular niche at the time, but once that book goes on to be successful then suddenly there are a flood of other books. One such example are the Harry Potter novels that blew away the believe that to be successful a children's books couldn't exceed a certain page count. It's tempting to assume that the books that follow into a newly developed niche are imitators, and some are, but in reality many are books that were already written but didn't get placed with a publisher first time around but then are given a second look; or were written after the ground-breaking book, but not in conscious imitation, and simply find an easier route to being published because of that first book.

However, to return to your observation that every book seems to have some sort of overarching "moral message", for want of a better description - I do not think that is correct. I say this as someone who reads a great many publisher catalogs cover to cover each year (when we used to get paper copies, the annual stack was about five feet high), plus I skim at least 600 reviews a month. So, I say with some certainty that if you just want a book with a good story and nothing else there are a wealth of books out there to choose them. However, the place to find them is not on BookBrowse!

This is because our specific focus is on books that don't just tell great stories but when you finish them you know something new that you didn't before. One way to describe these sorts of books is that they are either windows or mirrors, or both - i.e. they are books that either give you a window into the life of someone unlike yourself, or a mirror that gives you cause to reflect on your own life, or both - as such it's rare that you'll find a book that is just simply a story among the books that BookBrowse features and even less likely among the book club books because a book that is just a good story doesn't tend to have much discussion to dig into!

Hope this helps!

Davina MW, BookBrowse Editor


Posted Nov. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
karenh

Join Date: 10/06/11

Posts: 4

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Responding to the original question posted: This book felt like both political and coming of age to me. It felt political in relation to the (obvious) theme surrounding the portrayal of what our world could look like if Roe v Wade were overturned and meshing if church and state meshed. This theme was intriguing to me, what with the timeliness of the senate race in our state. For the other theme, coming of age, to me it seemed to be tied in with her sort of "awakening" where she began to question her religious beliefs and the opinions that surrounded her growing up. As someone who is not all that religious I found this most interesting to read about. It reminded me also of those moments growing up when you might realize for the first time that maybe your parents aren't the perfect heroes they seemed to be when you were little, but are, instead, simply human and capable of mistakes. I thought it really seemed to bring it to light when she was aware of her struggle to balance and come to terms with her new found views vs her views that were knee-jerk due to what was ingrained upon her growing up (for example her first hand homosexual experience). I apologize for not responding more interactively to your posts - I was not able to put more time into it this time! Looking forward to reading everyone's posts soon!


Posted Nov. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sallyh

Join Date: 09/07/12

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I think it is both a political novel and a coming-of-age story. I confess that I was fairly annoyed with Hannah's decision to meet Aidan at his hidey-house, knowing how she could be jeopardizing herself and others, but I forgave her when she got where she needed to go emtionally. Aidan's revelation to the world redeemed him a bit, too, particularly since he didn't really need to do that. This wasn't a book I would ordinarily have chosen to read, but I liked it and told my book club about it, and it's on our reading list.


Posted Nov. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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viviant

Join Date: 10/26/11

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I agree with others (sallyh, karenh, judyt, elizabethm, and monicaw) that it is more a combination of a political novel and coming-of-age-story. Hannah's personal story is the coming-of-age tale that is definitely set in a politicized background. I also thought that jknapp brought up an interesting point that the political thinking in the book somewhat mirrors the current elections and the brouhahas caused by thoughts on abortion. Given the thinking, or at least speeches, of certain politicians it is quite easy to see how this type of political environment could become the norm.


aka The Book Diva
Posted Jan. 14, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

Listening to the current political world and watching the Daily Show I can see how absurd the world is, to me. Then I see the lack of caring for the victims of Sandy. The "Boys" would rather argue than help the regular people. As a feminist who fought for women's rights I keep putting the book down. It was very well written and terrified me. It took everyones power away, think our way or no way seemed the theme.

Hannah's spirit was sparked to life by an experience that she could have never predicted. She was a child taken over by emotions and Aidan took full advantage of that. That she believed in him as her savior as long as she did surprised me. Hannah was a victim that believed more in being rescued that in herself.


Posted Jan. 28, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

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RE: Is this a political novel, a coming-of-age story, a combination of both, or none of the above?

I believe this is mainly a political novel, although it is also a coming- of-age story and a reworking of an old classic. I've lived among far right people my whole life and their beliefs drive me crazy, although they are usually lovely people as individuals. It's really frightening to think about what a far right society would be like, and this book does a good job of describing one possible future.


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