Vox by Christina Dalcher
What I drank prior: A Christmas ale, two (or three) glasses of wine, one cocktail concoction
Spoiler-free Overview: Christian extremists have taken over the U.S. democracy and turned women into silent slaves a la A Handmaid’s Tale, but IRL. One woman doctor seeks to overthrow the patriarchy using her specialty in some crazy disease that takes away your ability to use language, while her family of mostly boys kind-of sucks.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book for what it was. And, frankly, I’m not against the general premise that if we lived under a theocracy that would be a HUGE problem for ahem anyone who is not a hetero white male.
Characters: Main character is Jean—a brain doctor who had her position taken away when the Theo took over. Oh, and her voice. Others: husband who she consistently talks about having a weak spine and works for the government as like head scientist, her oldest son who is brain washed by the Theo leader, her daughter who is excited about receiving an A in not speaking, her Italian fellow doctor lover, and her mailman.
Plot: So the story opens a year or so into the theocratic dictatorship after they won an election with a figurehead president, convinced the general public that the Bible is law, and put counters on women to limit their speech in a given day. Jean reflects on her life and how her old feminist roomie warned her this would happen if they didn’t stand up for their rights, she laughed it off, and shit went down. Now she’s stuck at home with a brainwashed family while she pines after her recent former lover and the life she once had. Then the government shows up like ‘hey we know we’ve told you not to work, but now the presidents bro is sick and we need your expertise.’ Which is like linguistics and brain stuff. So she starts working for the gov in exchange for her and her only daughter being able to talk alongside her ex-ish lover, female mentor, and this douche bag who is leading the project. Meanwhile, her brainwashed family is leaning into the whole new order though the resistance is a-brewin’.
Writing Style: The writing style was fine. Nothing really stood out to me except that a few major actions happen off screen and the big act felt a little rushed.
Spoilers!!! Skip if you’re going to read (or don’t, I’m not your mom):
SO. What exactly happened with her husband? It seems like he succeeded in the assasination, but died in the process so she didn’t have to choose between the two baes? It wrapped up a little too nicely for my taste when ya know she should have had to reconcile with the fact that she cheated on her husband while he was secretly working with the resistance. Ending seemed rushed. Also, her son totally ruined some lives, but it’s fine.
Rating: 4/5 shots.
Drink pairing: A shot or two of hard liquor to get through the (far too real) premise. I choose whiskey.
Cheers until next time,