Yesterday I finally finished the novel Vox by Christina Dalcher. And man, was it disturbing. It takes place in a dystopian America in which women are only allowed to speak 100 words per day, and they have to wear these counters on their wrists that count down how many words they have left after speaking. The society subordinates women to kitchens and upholds traditional beliefs that men should be the CEOs, the ones bringing home the bacon, while the women stay at home frying that bacon for their kids’ and husbands’ breakfasts. Jean, a brilliant researcher, has four kids: a daughter, twins and a teenage son named Stephen. Stephen believes that women belong in the kitchen and not in the workforce because the school he attends rewards boys who support sexism and punishes those who speak out against it.
This book disturbed me because it’s very relevant to today’s discussions on gender roles. The first book I read that was anywhere close to this was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, in which women live in a world where the government controls women’s reproductive rights and bases its rules on traditional Biblical law. In Vox, the government is based on an idea of purity, and everyone has to follow that law of purity or they get punished. It really made me understand why we must let women and other marginalized communities, such as people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities speak their minds. I didn’t get to go to the Women’s March last year because I had work, but I just remember thinking, “Wow, how awesome would it have been to have participated in the Women’s March?”
I need to honestly go back and read it though because when you read something a second time you get to uncover more things. This is truly a powerful novel worth reading.
Vox. 326 pp. 2018 by Christina Dalcher