Book Review: The Power

It took me a while to finish this book because 1. I was reading five other books at the same time as reading this one and 2. the violence was pretty graphic. Not in a bad way, it was just hard to stomach for many of the scenes.

But just to give a brief summary of this novel. It is told in the third person narrative, but each chapter switches back and forth between different characters in the novel. It is about a power that all women and girls–not men and boys–possess, and Naomi Alderman, the author of the novel, illustrates the effects–whether good, bad, or in-between—of having this power on society and the girls and women themselves. A year ago I read a book called Vox by Christina Dalcher. That book takes place in a society where lab agents put trackers on all women and girls so that they don’t say more than 100 words per day. If they say any more than that, they get electric shocks. It gave me goosebumps because in reality, many girls and women have faced this silencing at work, in school, in the government, and elsewhere. The Power took that narrative and turned it on its head by having women and girls rule society and men as the oppressed group. The novel also shows how bad toxic masculinity can be because several men’s rights groups are trying to get back at the girls and women and kill them so they can take their power from them (I thought about meninism and how it wants to push back against feminism)

The power that the women and girls have in the book is a skein that each of them have on their hands. If they touch someone, even lightly, the other person will feel the power rise up from the girls’ palms. If the girl or woman presses their palm with great force, it can burn skin, send intense shock waves throughout the other person’s body, and cause other injuries Alderman shows that while on the surface having a society where women have this power sounds so empowering, this power must be used wisely and if it gets in the wrong hands it can wreak serious havoc (later in the book, one of the dudes tries to kill one of the girls and ends up getting the skein of power in his hand. He doesn’t stand a chance for the women who also have the power).

The end of the book gave me chills, but I think that was what the author intended because it shows you to never underestimate the strength of women and their power to unite. Overall, excellent read.

The Power. Naomi Alderman. 385 pp.

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