Red Clocks by Leni Zuma

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Red Clocks
By Leni Zumas
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 13: 9780316434812
Pages: 368
Genre: Dystopia/Feminism

Synopsis:

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.


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2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about feminism (I am counting this even though it is fiction because it certainly solicited some serious thoughts in regards to female rights and equality).

Following the lives of 4 women & a side character, Red Clocks presents a dystopian setting that explores the loss of women’s reproductive rights through a very unique narration that gradually exposes the varying impacts within society. Misogynistic politicians have made abortion and in vitro fertilization illegal with the enactment of the Personhood Amendment, going as far to charge lab technicians who drop specimens with manslaughter. Women who miscarry are forced to hold funerals and suffer the full cost. The Pink Wall now prevents women from crossing into Canada and obtaining abortion. Any woman doing so will be arrested and returned to their state for trial. And now on January 15th the Every Child Needs Two Act is about to take effect refusing single parent adoption.

First conjecture upon reading the synopsis would be to liken Red Clock’s to Atwoods’s The Handmaid’s Tale. They both approach the relevant and terrifying topic of societies where women are no longer equal and have lost the right to govern their own bodies. In that they are both powerful and necessary. But my experiences for both while rewarding, were unique.

Here Leni Zumas introduces us to five women:

Gin, “The Mender” – an isolated homeopath who lives alone in the forest and offers women services that women are no longer able to obtain. Viewed by the locale as a witch.

Susan, the Wife – A mother of two who finds herself disgusted with the situation of her marriage but unable to confront her husband.

Mattie, the Daughter – An adopted young girl who discovers she is pregnant with a child she does not wish to keep. Yet, current laws prohibit her from seeking an abortion.

Ro, the Biographer – A single, aging teacher and writer who wishes to become a mother. Insemination has been unsuccessful and her window for adoption is drawing to a close thanks to the Every Child Needs Two Act.

Eivør, a Polar Explore – A secondary character (not without significance) that is introduced as the subject of Ro’s current biography project.

It is through alternating chapters and perspectives of each woman’s life that Zumas presents us with an intelligent narrative and character study that is strangely devoid of emotion at times. While this can make for a taxing read, it soon becomes highly effective as we find that we are viewing this dystopian society as a reality.

Presented in a small Oregon town, there is nothing incredible occurring outside of the horrific laws in place and coming into effect. We are simply experiencing it as it is. As a part of life. And that alone is what makes Red Clocks not only compelling and effective but deeply unsettling. It blurs the lines between fiction and potential reality, daring the reader to face a possible future and ask what a woman is truly for.

Zumas’ writing is blunt and brazen, but also stylistic and enveloping. Though this is a heavy read, it is a fast one. I found myself unable to put Red Clocks down. I respected each character for their own strengths and flaws. I admired the author for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.  Aptly titled with a fitting cover, I am recommending this one to all!

Untitled design Read over several cups of Darjeeling tea.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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Book vs Film: Logan’s Run

I recently read Logan’s Run by George Clayton Johnson and William F. Nolan after completing the film (for the millionth time, during one of my late night, classic sci-fi binges). I quickly noticed some pretty interesting differences. Below is a brief comparison of the two, followed by my thoughts.  I have chosen to omit a few significant variations for the sake of avoiding spoilers. 

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Final Thoughts..

Both the film and the book offer an enjoyable throwback to classic sci-fi that instantly reminds us of why we enjoy the genre. The book manages to accomplish an impressive amount over a very small span of time. Tackling the age-old familiar dystopian theme of population management, it supplies an interesting take on euthanasia and the ever elusive utopian society. However, the story also experiences limitations itself with the very reduced age of the population. It can be hard to process a society where the entire Earth never ages beyond 21. I think that while the film writers and directors chose to deviate from multiple aspects of the original story, they did so wisely. Increasing the life span to 30 and limiting these restrictions to a domed city opened up endless possibilities and expanded beautifully on an already brilliant concept. Watching Logan’s Run now has the added luxury of a satisfyingly nostalgic and fun kitsch vibe that many fans of science fiction can deeply appreciate.

2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt: A book by an author with the same first or last name as you.

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Book                       Movie

Have you read or seen Logan’s Run? What are your thoughts?

Happy Reading & Watching!

Danielle ❤

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman ~ Buddy Read

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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
By Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9781442472426
Pages: 435
Genre: YA/Dystopian

Synopsis:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.


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This was another buddy read with Debby @Always Booking,  She is still putting up with me. Scythe was her choice (and I am glad she selected it!). As usual, we have chosen to exchange 5 questions regarding our time with the book and share our responses followed by our own personal thoughts. You can read Debby’s thoughts here.

My Questions to Debby:

1. One of the very first things that stood out to me in Scythe was the use of the term “gleaning”. They never refer to the process of taking lives as killing. Why do you think this is important?

To them I don’t think the Scythe’s think of it as taking a life, they think more as a statistical way. They don’t kill they take a life or glean so more people can live.

2. Did you feel that given the setting in the story that the job of a Scythe was a necessary or crucial one to be respected?

For the setting of the story it seems crucial, however as a person in this world it seems crazy to me.  I think they do need to be respected however there is a difference between respect and lifting them to a higher power.

3. How did you feel about relationship between Citra and Rowan? How did this affect your experience as a reader?  

I was so torn about their relationship; they were and were not friends.  I enjoyed it very much, both Citra and Rowan were very complex characters that needed to develop throughout the book and did very much.

4. Without spoilers, be truthful, who were you rooting for? Or were you torn between the two young protagonist?

Okay so I was torn, in the beginning it was totally Rowan, then in towards the end it was Citra.  That’s all I can say without spoilers!

5. For myself this was a somewhat dark read that still managed to feel light and enjoyable at times. How would you describe Shusterman’s writing in this specific title?

This book definitely is a dark read.. but has such hidden light elements you wouldn’t even know you read them until you were chuckling to yourself. There were some moments that really struck a chord with me the “aha” moment that relate to your life were really good.

My Answers to Debby’s Questions:

How do you feel about the aging process in the book?

Without exploring too much of the book (for those who have not read it), I found the aging and renewal process to be crucial in Scythe. The plot relies heavily on these elements to emphasize the need for and importance of Scythes and gleaning. I felt the author utilized this all brilliantly to provide a sense of justification and dare I say, respect for the difficult task of Scythes. The significance of their role was solidified by these elements. I could not imagine it having been presented any other way.

Further in the book when we get to meet more Scythes, which would you choose to be paired with if you were in training?

This is a difficult question. I am almost torn between Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie. Curie is wise with her age and experience. Her history as a Scythe would certainly provide a lot of value during training. However, I think ultimately, I would still choose Faraday. His character just resonates with honesty and sincerity. I never found myself questioning his intentions or methods.

Did you feel the main two characters developed well throughout the book?  Or would you have liked to see them grow more?

I found the character development to be surprising rewarding in Scythe. Citra and Rowan are both faced with the most difficult task of their lives and each handle this in very individual ways. The plot fostered a ton of growth and character depth, which is hard not to appreciate. I am excited to see how the sequel unfolds.

The thing I noticed most about this book is there is little romance, did you find that added or took away from the book?

I actually appreciated the lack of love story within Scythe. I feel that the main story-line would have suffered if Shusterman has attempted to squeeze in a romantic element that was more than the existing interest noted among certain characters. It was refreshing to read a book that did not have an underlying love theme. So in this case, it was certainly a benefit.

Cover love? Not so Cover love?? 

COVER LOVE!

My Final Thoughts..

Scythe is a brilliant read that manages to incorporate odd elements of humor and wit into the normally darker subject of death. Through a cleverly implemented setting, Shusterman hand-delivers a dystopian tale that places a new emphasizes on humanity and the significance of controlling the balance of the population. Tasked with the “grim” job of gleaning, Scythes maintain that balance. When Citra and Rowan are selected for a duel apprenticeship under Scythe Faraday, they will find themselves tasked with learning to take lives or facing severe consequences.

It is through this unique and unsettling career path and training that the author presents a series of significant events all tucked within an incredible story telling that produces thought-provoking results. What reads as an entertaining piece of science fiction soon becomes an in-depth assessment of humanity told through alternating point of views.

Untitled design Enjoyed with a cup of raspberry, hibiscus tea.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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