Dr. Jean is a celebrated linguistic researcher, trapped in a country on a path to ruin. The “Pure Movement” has taken over American politics. Women are prohibited from the work force, denied contraception, passports, bank accounts, and any form of autonomy. They are prevented from communicating over 100 words a day by use of an electrocuting “bracelet.”
Why limit speech, when there are so many other forms of rebellion? Language is one of the most important facets of our human experience. Limit a young child’s ability to speak, limit their capacity to communicate, and you’re eliminating the voices of an entire generation. I get how that’s effective in culling rebellion and controlling your populace, particularly the “problematic” females.
I didn’t really feel enlightenment or moral outrage from this book. There have been too many other, better works of literary feminist fiction that have kept me up at night, refreshing my browser in worry. But Jean’s struggle with her eldest son Steven made my stomach lurch. She watches, appalled and disillusioned, as her son is slowly brainwashed by the Pure Movement into becoming an insufferable Meninist douchebag. My heart goes out to the women raising boys right now. We need to support our young men, aid them by helping to squash America’s toxic masculinity; give them an education in gender politics and enforce a strict protocol of decency. Otherwise all we’re doing here is swatting at flies and ignoring the infestation.
Though Christina Dalcher does take a much appreciated shot at the ineptitude of white feminism, I found her complete lack of transgender inclusion pretty daunting. I don’t think it was meant to be a statement disregarding the transgender woman, but more a case of lazy writing. This is a novel that puts discourse about gender politics front and center, and Dalcher could have taken this huge opportunity to explore how this American dystopia would have reacted to the transgender female. Where would they have fit into this “Pure Movement”?
Thanks to Berkeley Publishing for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!