Publisher: HQ Stories
Publication Date: 23rd August 2018
I had seen so much buzz surrounding this book and just knew I had to have the chance to read it and absorb it, just to see for myself if it was as good as early reviews were saying.
Well dear reader, I can confirm that it is deserving of every last bit of praise, despite the fact that it horrified me!
This story centres around neurolinguistic scientist Jean McClellan and her family, husband Patrick, eldest son Steven, two twin boys Sam and Leo And 6 year old daughter Sonia.
As the females in the household Jean and Sonia are fitted with ‘bracelets’ which count their words. All females are allocated just 100 words a day to use and the bracelet counts them down one by one. The counter resets at midnight every night. If they dare to go over their 100 word limit there are dire consequences.
This is all down to instruction from the president of the USA and the religious ‘Pure’ movement. They want to see women as inferior beings, control them, censor them and take away their voices and opinions. They are no longer permitted to work and female children can only study maths in school to enable them to budget effectively for their family.
This movement extends to them being under surveillance via cameras everywhere so that they can’t even use sign language to communicate. They cannot read books or write anything down. These along with a litany of other ‘rules’ were enough to raise the hairs on my arms and raise my hackles!
When Jean’s skills as a neuroscientist are called upon by the Pure Movement, she has to make some tough decisions and stay perceptive around who she can and cannot trust.
What scared me about this story was the fact that we could one day find ourselves not a million miles away from something like this occurring. That creeping sense of foreboding when you are reading that makes you stop and think ‘my god, what if?….’
In considering the 100 word limit I also appreciated how very little could be said in 24 hours and just how many words were eaten up in the simplest of necessary sentences.
You also appreciate the little things that cannot be done for your own family. Soothing a child when they are ill. Reading them a bedtime story or even just telling them you love them. If your 100 words are up you have to stay quiet.
I really sympathised with Jean, the absolute horrors she faced and the torturous decisions she had to make. She’s a very likeable, gutsy character with real heart, despite not being perfect herself.
The pace of this book really ramps up around two thirds of the way through. There were some chapters towards the end that had me so tense my whole body was rigid whilst I was reading. At the end you have to remind yourself to breathe! When you close this book that sense of forboding lingers for so long afterwards.
You would like to think that this dystopian nightmare is exactly that, just a nightmare…….however……what if?…………..
I’ll leave you with that chilling thought.
See you soon
Bookish Chat xxx