I enjoy dystopian novels and this one felt all too real. America has been taken over by insane people, women can’t work, and are restricted to 100 words a day or fewer. Dr. Jean McClellan is, or was, an expert on brain injury and linguistics. When she is approached by the administration asking for her assistance, she really has no choice. She has three sons and, more importantly, a daughter to consider. She acquiesces but makes a few demands of her own. The doctor and her team get to work. They discover what’s really happening and formulate a plan.
^That is my 100 word review. Now, for the good stuff.
The author uses a lot of current event type stuff as plot points in Vox. For example, there’s a wall separating America from Mexico, making it harder to flee south and seek asylum. Who’s the refugees now, suckas? Us. It is 100% us. Then, in Handmaid Tale and also Alabama fashion, women begin losing their rights. You know, for our own good. Why work and contribute to society when you can get bitched out by your 17-year-old for not buying enough milk? Two things: 1) milk is gross and you should stop drinking it 2) shut up, Steven. This progression to June Cleaverdom ends with “bracelets” being slapped on their wrists. It’s like a Fitbit for words. Instead of counting steps, it counts words and, if you go over the allotment of 100, you get a mild electrical shock that will intensify the more you speak. Super fun. Try explaining that to a six-year-old. Meanwhile, men and boys can endlessly yammer on about whatever they want.
Like a lot of men Jean’s husband, Patrick, isn’t on board with what’s happening, but it’s best to just ride it out. No need to cause a fuss. It’s only talking, your career, and your identity, right? As the President’s science adviser, he doesn’t want to rock the boat too much. They wouldn’t want to upset the President or, more importantly, Reverend Carl.
So, Jean is beyond shocked when the Reverend himself comes a knockin’. They need her help, you see. Her work in linguistics and brain injury are critical to the survival of the President’s brother and…don’t tell anyone, but he’s kind of the brains behind the President’s operation. Jean has no choice. She has to keep her family in mind and, frankly, the idea of reuniting with her team, particularly Lorenzo, is too much to resist.
So, she goes back to work. After a few days, the team realizes there’s a lot more at play here than simply helping the President’s brother. They need a plan, and they need it now. With the help of a team of resistance fighters and an unlikely Judas, Jean and her team just may be able to truly make America great again.