When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Again, I didn't read the back of the book and had no idea what I was getting into. You can take this as a love story, a moral tale, a crime/suspense novel. Or all three.
*I'm trying not to give any spoilers, but have to give a few details to review the book and I promise I won't tell any major plot twists or the ending*
Everyone knows that Hannah has committed some type of terrible, punishable crime. How? Because she's red. From head to toe, dyed thru the skin red. And she will continue to be red until her sentence is over. She's free to roam the streets, but everyone will know she's a criminal.
What was her crime? She had an abortion. Yes, Roe v. Wade has been repealed and abortion is illegal. In the U.S., which is a religious state, it is anyway.
Jordan doesn't give us a time for When She Woke, but its conceivably not too far in the distant future. Some of the electronic gadgetry is our navigation maps and smartphones and iPads taken up a few notches. Religion, Christianity specifically, has become, if not the law, then the basis of the law of the land and the country is ruled by a moral code.
One can consider this story on a number of different levels. As a Christian, I have to admit, there were angles that I agreed with, and then there were others that I thought, "no, I don't think that's what the Bible means." When you have sinned, do you believe that God will forgive you, regardless of that sin? Even if its against the law? Can you forgive yourself?
Obviously, your personal belief on abortion will influence what you think of Hannah's sentence. But, if you are pro-choice, do you support breaking the law in the name of personal choice? If you are pro-life, do you think a woman, alone, should be punished? I'm not getting into a pro-life/pro-choice debate, but you can't discuss this book without raising the subject.
In Jordan's novel, criminals are dyed different colors depending on the severity of their crime. Interesting to note the discussion on how these "colored" people are treated.
When She Woke definitely kept me awake, late into the night to get to the next page.
* I've also read and reviewed Jordan's Mudbound.
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