Saturday, October 27, 2018

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Rating:   +.5| Release Date: 08/21/18 | Speculative Fiction | 9 hours 27 minutes | Penguin

Vox takes place in the near, near, near future where the government has limited women to 100 spoken words a day in an effort to Make America Great Again reinforce traditional gender roles. Dr. Jean McClellan is a cognitive linguist who has never quite adjusted to the new rules of society and brings the entire system down--which by the way isn’t a spoiler. It’s literally the first line of the book.

I added this book to my to-reads shelf the minute I heard about it on the What Should I Read Next podcast and was so excited to get into it...but this book really disappointed me. I think it’s because I went into this book thinking it was supposed to be this feminist dystopia but when you read Dalcher’s interviews you find out she’s a linguist who just wanted to write a book about her passion.

Despite being marketed as the book of the #MeToo movement that’s not what this book is--it’s really more of a workplace thriller. The feminist dystopic themes are the weakest elements of the novel and lack the nuance and detail that makes a world feel believable. There is also a huge white feminism problem. Vox acknowledges the existence and problems of white feminism but then is a book centered on the ideas of white feminism. All the women of color are silenced in one way or the other to further Jean's story.

As for the thriller aspect...I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand the Big Bad’s plan and I was kind of miffed that technically a straight white dude saves the day.

On the plus side, I did this on audio and it re-introduced me to Julia Whelan as a narrator. I’ve always known of her and Jess has reviewed a few of her books, but I hadn’t really listened to much of her. Whelan is such a solid narrator for this book, particularly for her range of male voices. She made this a good listen, even if I could never fully invest in the story.

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