In Alderman’s dystopian novel, the sexual tables are turned and women are the aggressors.
2018 has been a pretty challenging year to be woman.
- Donald Trump is the president, and Brett Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court. The future of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance.
- 265 young Olympic gymnasts shared testimonies of sexual assault by their team doctor.
- The Institute for Women’s Policy and Research acknowledged women in the United States only make $0.49 on the dollar compared to male counterparts, not to mention the even larger disparity for women of color.
- Serena Williams was punished for behavior her male peers show on the court regularly.
- In Detroit 11,341 untested rape kits were discovered collecting dust in warehouses. Life was starting to look a little bit like Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
But then, things started to take a turn.
- A wave of women, including many women of color, ran and won political office in November.
- Emma Gonzalez became the voice of school children impacted by gun violence.
- Michelle Obama released her memoir.
- New narratives and lead roles were created by and for diverse women in Hollywood.
- Beyonce headlined Coachella.
As we march in to 2019, things are beginning to look different for women because of women, and the men who support them. What better time to read Naomi Alderman’s dystopian novel “The Power”?
In the novel, teenage girls around the world suddenly develop the ability to control and use electricity through their bodies. These teenagers are able to awaken this power in the world’s older women, and can use the power to help and/or hurt others.
No one knows for sure how this new development came to be (pollution or recessed genetic traits?) but the men of the world are scared. Women’s bodies suddenly become deadly weapons. Alderman writes, “Already there are parents telling their boys not to go out alone, not to stray too far.”
The story is cleverly told through several points of view:
- Mother Eve, a formerly sexually abused foster child who becomes the face of the new religious movement;
- Roxy, the disenfranchised daughter of a British mob lord who saw her mother get killed;
- Margot, the ambitious American Mayor and;
- Tunde, the lone male voice, a Nigerian journalist who dedicates his life to chronicling and reporting on the world’s gender revolution.
Alderman delivers a deeply compelling plot, paired with an awe-inspiring alternate reality that envisions what the world would be like if women held the privilege men own today. Alderman does not simply replace power-hungry men with power-hungry women. She reimagines a new world undergirded by female supremacy. What if men had to worry about being outshined at work? What if men had to live their lives in fear of being physically overpowered or raped? Readers hold onto Alderman’s every word until the last page – wondering how this will end, and what this power means for humanity.
Join the Club
The EFSJ Book Club meets monthly to discuss readings over wine, seltzer and cheese. All are welcome to join us. We discuss the varied elements of our readings, and then make action plans to impact our community based on our learning. Information will be available by emailing email@example.com, or by following our instagram at ef_socialjustice.
Our upcoming reads (the club meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 6-8PM)
|Full Group Book
“The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Suggested Further Reading
“Exit West,” by Mohsin Hamid
|“Behold The Dreamers,” by Imbolo Mbue
|“Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” by Beth Macy