Book Review: The Power by Naomi Alderman

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about feminism. Brief synopsis: All across the world, women and girls have develo...

popsugar reading challenge

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about feminism.

Brief synopsis: All across the world, women and girls have developed an electric power that gives them shocking abilities (pun intended). Along with this power, comes a new dynamic worldwide. Females are now the dominate gender. Men are on strike. A war is brewing. The story follows three women and one man as they navigate this new of society and figure out just how they fit into it.

I was so excited to read The Power because I have heard such wonderful things about it. It’s been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale because of obvious feminist themes and Alderman’s relationship with Atwell as a mentor. But honestly, this book really fell short for me.

The novel focuses on three female characters and one male character. There are other characters who are less major in the story, but are still fairly important to the plot. Honestly, I can’t tell you what the time period is. I thought it was present day, but by the time I got to the end of the book, I was seriously confused. I’m not too settled on the ending and what was actually happening with each character. Or even what the resolution was. Something else that can be confusing, but I actually understood, is that the novel is set as if females are the superior gender worldwide and a male author (Neil) is writing a story and his agent/publisher (Naomi) is reading the story - so you get more information about that during the start and end of the book. Throughout, “artifacts” are presented to the reader.

Truthfully, I never really connected to any of the characters, and with a book like this, I’m really disappointed I didn’t. I just felt everything was so scattered. A chapter would be set to one character, but other major characters would also be within that chapter and it was written omnisciently. I think I would have preferred it to have been first person - that would have made the chapters make more sense to me. I also felt the tense would switch around too much during the chapters. Lastly, could someone please explain what the countdown was to (seven years left, etc.)? I really felt like I missed something.

I also felt the book did a disservice to women, by claiming if we had the “power” or were the superior gender, we would abuse our roles (wars, aggression/abuse, rape?!). Perhaps this is a way of saying power creates a dynamic that is unbalanced and that unbalance leads to “power going to our head”. With equality, the balance would create a more peaceful society. I’d love to hear some other perceptions and opinions about this.

I think the storyline was really intriguing. The plot was great. I think the execution of the story was what missed the mark for me, which (again) I feel terrible saying because I know there was a strong message within the pages. I just felt the tempo, the clarity, the tense, and timeline all could have been done differently.

Anyone else?

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