Minda’s preg review of The Power by Naomi Alderman
What I drank prior: I miss wine. Only two more months (ish)!
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
My Summary: The titular “Power”—an ability to cause pain/healing/pleasure/generally undefined feeling—is flourishing in teenage girls and women. How will the world change with women in power?
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this. I liked the idea, but less sure I loved the execution. The premise seemed to be that power corrupts all—no matter what gender you are or proclivity toward ‘good.’ I definitely buy that no one is inherently good or evil, but most people depicted in the book seemed to lean toward evil. There were portions that were very graphic.
Characters: I’d say there were 3 main characters then another 2 fairly prominent characters. First we have Allie, a foster or adopted child who is abused by her foster/adopted family. When she discovers her pretty extreme power, she turns to faith and into some sort of religious figure under a new name. She was, understandably, pretty messed up from her abuse, but not my fave. Talks to unexplained voice in her head. Next is Roxie, who I probably liked the most. She’s a feisty Brit from a family of mobsters. After her also extreme power is discovered, she journeys up to the top of the historically male-dominated mob scene. Second fave character though he was a little strange, Tunde is a teen male from Nigeria who, after a sexual encounter with a girl with the power, becomes the leading journalist reporting on the changes in power structures occurring throughout the world as the power rises in women. The remaining two are a mother/daughter duo in the U.S. who rise to power in America’s government and armed forces.
Plot: Much of the plot is described above, but all the characters run in and out of each other’s lives at different points. The book starts out 10 years ahead of the big(?) event when the power is first starting to emerge in teen women. As the power grows among all women—the teens can awaken the power in older women—the world shifts to a more female-centric domination and societies around the world struggle to adjust. Like their (male) predecessors, the people in structural power take it too far.
World Building: I think there was something lacking here. I think it was based on our current society then grew from there, but not entirely sure with the historically blurbs before each chapter and what I thought was a weird series of letters at the end. So, like, an alternate reality/history? Still unclear. Also, it was just so so dark about power = corruption and that basically no one in power can possibly be good, which I’m not sure I agree with.
Writing Style: The writing style was mostly just the different viewpoints of the characters depending on the chapter interspliced with fake historical references to support what was currently happening. And that weird letter series I mentioned at the end.
What to pair it with: Sour beer. Not my fave, but interesting.
Rating: 3/5 shots.
Soon to be not pregnant,