What Emma Read: The Power by Naomi Alderman

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First impressions before reading the book

I knew the jist of the story, and by that I mean I knew what I’d read on the back of the book. A couple of my coworkers had actually told me about it, either through reading it themselves or being told about it from someone else, so although I didn’t know too much of what to expect, I wasn’t going into it totally blind like I usually do. It also won the Baileys Womens Prize for fiction, which raised my expectations a little.

The plot

Basically one day everyone finds out that teenage girls have the ability to summon lightning at their fingertips, a skill which they can help waken up in other women. The novel follows several characters, mostly Allie, Roxy, Margot and Tunde who all have very different lives. The world begins to change as women are further using their powers, changing the order of men in charge to women being in charge. It follows the reaction when the men realise that women have this power, and the uprising of women against men, especially those living in poorer countries and victims of abuse. A state run by woman with an almost totalitarian rule is formed, and actions by the state threaten to start a new war.

The characters

As I mentioned, the story is told from the point of view of four main characters, Allie, Roxy, Margot and Tunde for most of the story, although Jocelyn does also have a few chapters. Each character has a completely different story, although their storylines do cross over at several points. I didn’t find Allie’s character as interesting as the rest, because her chapters were quite steeped in religion which I’m just not interested in. Roxy was a feisty character and probably my favourite chapters to read, but I also thought Margot’s chapters were interesting as it showed the struggles of a woman in politics. As a journalist I could resonate with Tunde, who although a man, is right up there in the action broadcasting for his journalist role.

Would I recommend it?

I really liked the undertones of this novel, it points out that the world we live in is very male driven at present, and starts the conversation of what would happen if women suddenly did take charge? How would men react? Although obviously there’s a supernatural element to the storyline, it’s an interesting look into the hierarchy of the world- even if some of the scenarios are (hopefully) a bit far-fetched. I wasn’t too mad on the ending, it fell a bit flat after the build up throughout the rest of the book. I’d recommend it though, especially if you like feminist themes in your reading material/every day life.

 

I read The Power as part of my 2017 Goodreads challenge- book number 13 out of 50. Yes, I’m falling severely behind. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, a pretty good read. You can keep up with what I’m reading here.

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