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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

When She Woke

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When She Woke Cover

ISBN13: 9781616201937
ISBN10: 1616201932
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

When She Woke is a particularly good nod to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, but even more, it is a fabulous tale of self discovery. When Hannah Payne wakes up with red skin (a punishment as well as an indicator of her crime), it catapults her into a desperate flight for her life. While trying to negotiate her futuristic world, Hannah begins to see herself in two distinct ways: before and after. The slow unraveling of her previously held beliefs and blind assumptions is truly satisfying. When She Woke is a harrowing dystopian adventure as well as a contemplative journey of self-discovery. References to Scarlet Letter are a delicious cherry on top.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Dystopian thrillers are all the rage for a reason: books like this! Scary and fun and thought-provoking and... well, Hillary Jordan gives Suzanne Collins a run for her money.
Recommended by Beverly, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan's provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed — their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes — and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.

In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

Review:

"Hillary Jordan channels Nathaniel Hawthorne by way of Margaret Atwood in this fast-paced, dystopian thriller. Unputdownable." Valerie Martin, author of The Confessions of Edward Day

Review:

“[A] chilling futuristic novel.” O, the Oprah magazine

Review:

“Jordan manages to open up powerful feminist and political themes without becoming overly preachy — and the parallels with Hawthorne are fun to trace.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it, and savvy educators will pair it with Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. Essential.” Library Journal

Review:

“It reads like a thriller, and one that makes you think hard, to boot. I’ve already placed this one on my favorite-books-for-book-clubs list.” The Book Case

Review:

The Scarlet Letter could unfurl from no better a speculative pen than that held by Hillary Jordan. She takes the seeds of that story and roots them in a world where ‘right to life’ is the law of the land....The result...is as compulsively readable as it is thought-provoking.” The Denver Post

Review:

“In the chillingly credible tomorrowland of Jordan’s second novel, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion has been criminalized in 42 states and a vigilante group known as the Fist of Christ brutalizes violators....Jordan’s feverishly conceived dystopia holds its own alongside the dark inventions of Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury.” The New York Times Book Review

Review:

“Hannah’s fight for freedom is both a sober warning and a gripping page-turner. Already it reads like a classic.” AARP

Review:

“Jordan’s take on the hot button issues of our time — separation of church and state, abortion, an imperfect criminal justice system — is compelling.” San Antonio Express-News

Review:

“An inventive tale about a new America that has lost its way...When She Woke is, at its heart, a tense, energetic and lively paced story about self-discovery and reclamation in the wake of enormous shame. It is a story about the price of love.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

“Will spark many an intriguing book club discussion.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

Hillary Jordan is the author of Mudbound, winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lennox, August 4, 2013 (view all comments by Lennox)
Readers familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter will have no trouble identifying the parallels in Hillary Jordan's novel about illicit love. In this futuristic version of Hawthorne's morality tale, Hannah Payne becomes the lover of a married man of the cloth. She becomes pregnant, and rather than bearing a child who would incriminate her lover, the widely respected head of the global Church of the Ignited Word and America's Secretary of Faith, Hannah has an abortion.

Abortion is illegal in this dystopia, and those who are convicted of the crime are punished by being injected with viral DNA which turns their skin "the solid, declarative red of a stop sign." Other crimes warrant other colors, but the stigmatized "chromes" become societal outcasts, bearing the signature color of their transgressions for everyone to see.

Blood-red but not bowed, Hannah sets off on a series of adventures that take her from a halfway house whose proprietors try to inculcate in her the puritanical social and religious doctrines espoused by the government (no separation of church and state in this society, nosirree) to an underground railroad implemented by some covert but rebellious and prickly feminists. Along the way, Hannah endures various forms of social ostracism and cruelty, including kidnapping and attempted rape, has a lesbian affair, gains then loses (but will she regain???) a friend who is also chromed, and reunites with Reverend Dale at least long enough to tell him a thing or two about love and truth.

In short, this morality tale is long on political and religious diatribe but short on character development, dialogue, description, and believable plot. It reads like a mutant and shallow version of The Scarlet Letter (or Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale) and might have been better suited to the format of a comic book. After all, the colors of the "chromes" and the stereotyped villains against whom Hannah struggles lend themselves to pictorial depiction. In this non-literary format, they might even be entertaining.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
adamoe, April 22, 2013 (view all comments by adamoe)
Very interesting and enjoyable. The protagonist's relationship with God and her awakening independence lacked a thorough exploration but the book provides a good story and a chilling possible future for our country.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781616201937
Author:
Jordan, Hillary
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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When She Woke Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - English 9781616201937 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

When She Woke is a particularly good nod to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, but even more, it is a fabulous tale of self discovery. When Hannah Payne wakes up with red skin (a punishment as well as an indicator of her crime), it catapults her into a desperate flight for her life. While trying to negotiate her futuristic world, Hannah begins to see herself in two distinct ways: before and after. The slow unraveling of her previously held beliefs and blind assumptions is truly satisfying. When She Woke is a harrowing dystopian adventure as well as a contemplative journey of self-discovery. References to Scarlet Letter are a delicious cherry on top.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Dystopian thrillers are all the rage for a reason: books like this! Scary and fun and thought-provoking and... well, Hillary Jordan gives Suzanne Collins a run for her money.

"Review" by , "Hillary Jordan channels Nathaniel Hawthorne by way of Margaret Atwood in this fast-paced, dystopian thriller. Unputdownable."
"Review" by , “[A] chilling futuristic novel.”
"Review" by , “Jordan manages to open up powerful feminist and political themes without becoming overly preachy — and the parallels with Hawthorne are fun to trace.”
"Review" by , “Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it, and savvy educators will pair it with Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. Essential.”
"Review" by , “It reads like a thriller, and one that makes you think hard, to boot. I’ve already placed this one on my favorite-books-for-book-clubs list.”
"Review" by , The Scarlet Letter could unfurl from no better a speculative pen than that held by Hillary Jordan. She takes the seeds of that story and roots them in a world where ‘right to life’ is the law of the land....The result...is as compulsively readable as it is thought-provoking.”
"Review" by , “In the chillingly credible tomorrowland of Jordan’s second novel, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion has been criminalized in 42 states and a vigilante group known as the Fist of Christ brutalizes violators....Jordan’s feverishly conceived dystopia holds its own alongside the dark inventions of Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury.”
"Review" by , “Hannah’s fight for freedom is both a sober warning and a gripping page-turner. Already it reads like a classic.”
"Review" by , “Jordan’s take on the hot button issues of our time — separation of church and state, abortion, an imperfect criminal justice system — is compelling.”
"Review" by , “An inventive tale about a new America that has lost its way...When She Woke is, at its heart, a tense, energetic and lively paced story about self-discovery and reclamation in the wake of enormous shame. It is a story about the price of love.”
"Review" by , “Will spark many an intriguing book club discussion.”
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