Vox by Christina Dalcher is a new dystopia set in a futuristic version of America. One where women are only allowed to speak 100 words every day. With nods to The Handmaid’s Tale and The Stepford Wives. Vox feels very relevant in our modern day society.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean, will reclaim her voice.
MY THOUGHTS ON VOX
I had a strange experience while reading Vox because I wanted to finish the book. But also I feel like finishing was a waste of time. I didn’t exactly enjoy Vox but I can’t tell if that is because it was a bad book. Or if the summary I read online was so different from the actual plot that it affected my perception of it.
The premise of the book is that Jean, the main character, has a PhD and treats patients who have problems with speaking. She has to create a serum to help fix the President’s brother. The person who is essentially running the country because the actual president is some Trump-like character. From that, you would assume that Jean was smart, knew what to do, could hold her own.
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But the reality was Jean felt unnecessary to the plot. In a week she goes from only speaking 100 words a day to bringing down the President. At least that is what the summary of Vox would make you believe. In reality, there was a whole lot of work done behind the scenes by other people and Jean is just along for the ride. She happens to be the person whose eyes you are seeing the story through. The book literally ends with Jean leaving the country. Letting other people to fix the problem.
The science in this book feels unrealistic. There are totally unnecessary plot points. Jean’s mom has an aneurysm at one point and you would think Jean just didn’t care at all. I know I would be a mess if my mum had to go to the hospital for even the tiniest thing.
Similarities to real world politics
The strangest thing about Vox is how relevant it feels. Yes, this is a dystopia, but you almost feel like it is a dystopia in the making. There are heavy hints that this world would continue to get worse. For women and people of colour. You wonder how that could happen, But that’s where Jean comes in. Her apathy during the book shows how something like that can happen. By not caring enough to speak up. By choosing not to vote because you don’t think it will matter. I didn’t like how the author implies that going to rallies is the only way to be politically active. But that’s a whole other thing.
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I know a lot of people have compared this to The Handmaid’s Tale. Now I can’t confirm how much of that is true. But from what I know of The Handmaid’s Tale I was definitely getting those sort of vibes from Vox. Almost like the author was trying to create a modern-day version of it.
Look, I bought this in an airport bookshop. And I think for what it was, it was fine. Something to read while waiting on a plane. Basically, it’s the Dan Brown of dystopia books. Not particularly good but interesting enough for you to waste some time reading it.