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addabook - The Power
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The Power
Naomi Alderman
read on February 10, 2018

This was a great book. Alderman did a great job communicating (often satirizing) the power imbalance between men and women today. The second chapter of the book nails this when a women shocks a man, probably for fun, as they are making out. The man feels totally vulnerable and betrayed - yet blames himself for getting into that situation, telling himself she probably didn't mean it, and refusing to tell others for fear of not being believed. These are super straightforward parables (parables?), but their obviousness does not make them any less effective. Most examples are more subtle, and it is disappointing and surprising how things you didn't realize were sexist become obviously sexist once the genders are switched. This is a perfect high-school-reading-list-book, if not for the graphic rape and torture scenes...

Back when I read the Hunger Games I was deeply disappointed with the ending. In The Power, Alderman executes the ending that I wished the Hunger Games (and most other generic fiction titles) had the gumption to do. Alderman demonstrates well how power changes people, and ultimately, corrupts. The power of the book is in showing that if women had physical dominance over men, that the world would actually be very similar, if not identical, to how it is today - but with gender's reversed. The conclusion is speculative, but its interesting to remove gender from sexism and view it exclusively as a power imbalance. And as a work of fiction, it's highly refreshing to have such moral ambiguity in the protagonists.

 

 

 

Author Bio:

Born in London, the daughter of Geoffrey Alderman, who is a specialist in Anglo-Jewish history.,[2] Naomi Alderman was educated at South Hampstead High School and Lincoln College, Oxford, where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She then went on to study creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a novelist. In 2007, The Sunday Times named her their Young Writer of the Year. In 2007 she was also named as one of the 25 Writers of the Future by Waterstones. Alderman was the lead writer for Perplex City, an alternate reality game, at Mind Candy from 2004 through June 2007. She went on to become lead writer on the running video game Zombies, Run! which launched in 2012. She writes a monthly technology column for The Guardian. In 2012, Alderman was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, England. In 2013, she was included in the Granta list of 20 best young writers.