Minda’s unfortunate review of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Warning: This is 100% how I felt about this book, drunk or sober, but it has an average of 3.7 stars on Goodreads, so I’m clearly in the minority. Judge for yourself!
Alright so here we are. I just hate-watched a 30-min YouTube video summarizing Crimes of Grindelwald bc this is what we’re left with, so I’m finally in the state of mind to review this book. I had specifically been waiting for a night when I wasn’t going to ruin the party.
What I drank prior: Still actively drinking as I type this up, but at least two bottles of wine + time zone change funtme. There is a better word for this that I can’t think of. (Editor’s Note: that’s my girl)
Spoiler-free Overview: This book followed 5 (roughly connected) women in a dystopia (*cough* short time in the future) that has banned abortions and put limitations on what a family looks like, who can adopt, etc. Basically a world I would never want to live in, but hey, conservative Supreme Court amirte? So they all are there more-or-less to show different aspects of womanhood (ahem poorly), admittedly hetero, cisgender. And I promise you, nothing happened.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I would all caps it but not trying to look ricdicualous. This book was terrible and incredibly boring. And I was so upset becase it sounded so good and so promising. It was so so bad you guys. Like, I can’t even desrcipt. Also, clearly super drunk-yay?
Characters: I did not see myself in any of these women, which is astonishing. I can’t even remember their name bcause author was trying to make a point (i think?) about how women are defined by their roles. A metaphor that was totally beyond me, but like sure I’ll admit that mabe I missed it. But they are literally all just cardboard characters: The Maid, The Wife, The Spinster, The Not-In-Society, and the Rando-Being-Written-About. Note: her names for them are, respectively, the daughter, the wife, the biographer, the mender, and the explorer (got one right)! They were all so nothing that I can’t even describe them outside of said “role.”
Here were my (sober) notes while reading and they’re still brutal–
- The biographer: Dang she was crazy annoying with the baby fever. Like I get it, you want a kid and laws are in place to prevent that. But, many times, it seemed like she didn’t take any agency over her life.
- The daughter: Was she supposed to be likable? Other characters kept talking her up but I didn’t get it. And I promise you I get her struggle.
- The mender: She was definitely had some arrested development? Idk it was so weird.
- The explorer: This was incredibly unnecessary. Irrelevant facts between each chapter… just to make it longer? I don’t even know.
- The Wife: OMG dude just leave your husband! Incredibly unhappy.
Plot: Uh, was there a plot here? I feel like nothing happened in this book. At one point someone is on trial, but that’s it? I guess the basic outline (which, again, was so promising and I’m so mad that this is what it ended up as) was that all of these women coveted the other’s role in the male patriarchy (statement?) and eventually Not-In-Society was arrested which made all the women come together to… oh just kidding women hate each other obvi. Everyone continued living their lives though NIS did end up getting off. Which, good, but The Wife used MINIMUM “LEGAL” SKILLS to accomplish this and also is not a lawyer. And also not really legal skills. Ugh whatevs.
World Building: *major eyerolling* The close-future dystopia concept was good i.e. more or less our reality in the next 20 or so years pending a continued conservative court/government. BUT (see above) terrible execution. Did I mention I really hated this book?
Writing Style: this was just like stream of consciousness with rando flashbacks thrown in. And by random, I absolutely mean random, not just like someone I don’t bother to rememeber. Oh, and a lot of metaphors (all fell flat to me) and comments out of nowhere.
—SPOILERS don’t read! JK you should read them instead of this book—
What I hated: Uh everything? It’s literally everything. Guys, this ends in cannibalism, in case we weren’t upset enough.
What I disliked: If I read one more sentence about this plastic bag/not animal, I would scream. Probably another metaphor I don’t get, but Jesus. Think at some point the wife licked the ashphalt? Wtf?
What I liked: I’ll hand it to the author that this was a great concept.
What I loved: Ha!
What to pair it with: Something that the patriarchy forces you to drink.
Rating: 1/5 shots. No follow up.