I picked up this book at the beginning of summer, because it was plastered everywhere in my local bookshop. It appealed to me instantly, not even because of the positive reviews, but just because it seemed to feature feminism as I understand it. On the back of the book it says: “The day of the girls has arrived – but where will it end?”. That quote hast stuck with me ever since.
I consider myself a feminist, but feminism for me is all about equality. Not about women being better than men, or about seeking revenge for the patriarchy of the past by oppressing men. It’s simply about being treated equally, having the same opportunities and no double standards. Of any kind or in any direction.
The Power is written from the perspective of different girls and women, who discover they have some kind of electrical power inside of them, that they can use to shock other people. It kind of evens out the physical advantages men have over women. But over time it becomes clear that it not only evens out those advantages, making them equals, but by far surpasses the powers of men. And that discovery leads to women, after a time of being ashamed of what they can do, dominating and even oppressing men.
For the first big chunk of the book, I, as a female reader, found myself rooting for these girls, who are using that power to escape the truly horrific circumstances they were previously forced to live in. And even still when they start to get revenge on their tormentors and unite to form strong bonds with other women. I loved how the changing of a young woman’s body meant strength and empowerment and girls working together.
Naomi Alderman, the author, somehow manages to transition into that feeling of unease, that feeling of “this is going too far” so naturally, that at first you don’t notice it happening. And suddenly, you find yourself being appalled at what the characters you were cheering on a minute ago are doing. None of these girls are perfect. They all have flaws and most of them aren’t even particularly likeable.
And I love books like that. Because in real life, nobody is perfect. And I’ve found that books with not-so-likeable protagonists have more room for great writing. And writing well she does. The book is gripping until the end, eventhough the many perspectives and strange timeline are somewhat confusing. Alderman takes great care to tell us how the world is changing. It’s set on our real earth and she shows us in a very confusing, but oh-so-beautiful combination of historic and current political facts and made up pasts that could be true how this phenomenon affects different people, cultures and countries.
There is love, family, revolution, betrayal, friendship, power-struggle, politics, adventure and so much more. For me, it was one of the best books I’ve read in years and one I will definitely read again in the future. I think it will be read in school’s in the future and even if not, everyone who cares about equality, gender and growing up should be reading this! I’ve been telling all my friends about it and lent it to three different people already and it’ll for sure be on my list of recommendations if someone asks me about books.
I’d love to hear about your thoughts if you’ve already read this book and if not, I hope to have made you WANT to read it. Let me know what you think, and without spoiling it, tell me what you thought about the ending. (I really liked it!)