Monday, February 13, 2012

YAckers Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Published October 4th, 2011.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful reimagining of
The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love. (

This book is meant to incite rage in its readers, whether it's of the feral intolerant side that foams at the mouth when Christianity is questioned or the blaspheming side that has nightmares about such a world as showcased in WHEN SHE WOKE existing. Only Laura and myself waxed poetic about abortion this month. Or maybe we took a cheese grater to it. Either way our feelings were similar, getting all riled up in the right spots and finding the Where's Waldo Dickhead in the Chromed oblivion but we ultimately liked it. For all the anger it induced, it was written phenomenally and without a hint of preaching. How's that for authorial self-control? Read our thoughts at the official Keeper of the Book's place this month, A Jane of All Reads.

Ban Factor: High - Abortion. That word alone would have the banner running with matches blazing.
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