The Power by Naomi Alderman


The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 27th October 2016
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery
In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

I think I got sucked into mass hype and prize winning prestige on this one. I am generally a fan of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction (soon just to be The Women's Prize for Fiction), my kind of books make the short list and it's just for us ladies, which is fabulous. But I think this one won because of the subject matter's relevance in today's society. Even more relevant considering the recent Hollywood scandal. It did not win based on its literary merit. It can't have done. Can it?

First of all, it reads like a young adult novel, albeit with a few marginally graphic 'scenes of a sexual nature'. I hate sneaky YA. I actually don't think it's meant to be YA, it just slips, quite often, into shallow conversation and naff action scenes. And that was my biggest issue with the book, it lacks depth. Excellent premise, poorly executed.

After an initial good start I wanted to see how these women would use their power. Would their roles in society change? Would Naomi Alderman take these women to places of power I couldn't possibly imagine. Would the women use the power for good? Would the world become a better place. The answer is no. The roles of men and women in society were literally reversed. The women become aggressive, violent, wars brake out, men are raped. I don't think any of the female characters used their new found power for good. We're better than that surely? I like to think that with a switch in power, women and men could create a better world together, a different world, a more progressive world. This isn't a feminist piece of work in my opinion, it lacked imagination and wasn't the challenging novel I wanted it to be. Shame.

I listened to this at double speed and can't remember the ending. Think I'd stopped paying attention. The mixed media didn't work for me either. I found it hard to believe that 5000 years in the future we would still be looking at museum exhibits that go 'bing', presumably when you press a button, sending emails and participating in chat rooms.

Story - 3/5
Writing - 2/5
Character - 2/5
Memorability - 4/5
Enjoyment - 1/5
Overall rating - 2.5/5

1 comment

  1. Ah, so interesting to read your review of this! I was intrigued by the concept, but it does sound poorly executed - that's a shame.


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