Reader reviews and comments on When She Woke, plus links to write your own review.

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When She Woke

A Novel

by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 11 reader reviews for When She Woke
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Power Reviewer Sandra H. (11/13/11)

When She Woke
Having taught Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" to numerous high school juniors, I bought the book as soon as I saw it advertised. And, yes, I can see the resemblance to Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" as well. But ultimately a book must be judged on its own merits. While Jordan's novel has a political point of view, an astute reader can look beyond that and see a terrific story with a likable if fallible protagonist who must come to terms with her own life as well as the society she finds herself in. And this is what happens. As she questions her life and the restrictions that govern it, she eventually makes choices that form her character.
This would be a wonderful book club read, especially if the members have differing political and religious beliefs but are strong enough not to believe that their own views are the only valid ones. It is also a book that forces readers to look around at the restrictions put on our lives and those of others through public attitudes, the press, government, and the instant opinions that take over in our instant news world.
Read it. Like it. Hate it. But be sure to talk about it.
Power Reviewer mainlinebooker (11/02/11)

fascinating
A wonderful Margaret Atwood type of dystopian tale but, I tend to disagree with the reviewers. I was looking for something more. In fact, what I loved about it was how this mild dystopian nature could be related directly to today's events. I thought it was a winner and definitely "fed" my soul; I could not put it down. GREAT for discussion groups..
Eileen Elkinson (10/23/11)

Close to the bone...
This novel is written very close to the bone. Jordan transports us into a world that is at once frightening and plausible. It is The Scarlet Letter moved forward to a future society that is as puritanical as it was back then. Could we regress to that today? This book suggests we can and it scared me to death. What a thought provoking tale this is.
In Mudbound Jordan lifted the ugly veil of prejudice. In this book we are drawn into a world of religious fanaticism, but it certainly isn't viewed that way by its inhabitants.
We are introduced to a woman named Hannah who has been branded a murderer for having an abortion. Abortions are illegal. She is punished by using a process called chroming which is a virus that changes the skin color of the person according to the crime. Red is for murder. She is shunned and considered despicable by the upright citizens. I was deeply moved by her plight and struggle to be free and away from this society.
This book is well worth reading, no matter what you're personal beliefs may be.
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