The Power

The Power

Book - 2017 | First North American edition
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When a new force takes hold of the world, people from different areas of life are forced to cross paths in an alternate reality that gives women and teenage girls immense physical power that can cause pain and death.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017
Edition: First North American edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780316547611
Branch Call Number: F ALDER-N
Characteristics: 386 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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May 11, 2018

This book is fantastic. Intense, well-plotted, with deft use of a handful of devices that I recognized as devices but that worked to keep me on the edge of my seat nevertheless.

I tend to be more optimistic than Alderman in my evaluation of human nature. I agree that power corrupts, but I think it would take a lot longer, and I think the ways in which society is shaped might be diverted in unexpected and interesting ways that Alderman does not, in the end pursue. This isn't really a critique of the book, though; I would have written a different one but so what? This one is good.

I really like the framing device, the future book manuscript complete with notes from an editor who does not recognize the bias in the manuscript feedback--I suspect Alderman may have copied almost verbatim from notes she as a woman writer has received from men in the publishing industry. This is actually a great microcosm of the book for me, actually: there is a kind of visceral satisfaction in seeing the gendered power structure eviscerated in this way, and yet I still wished there was some sign of what ELSE humans could do, abusive or not, other than wield power over each other.

Jan 24, 2018

**SPOILER ALERT** I wanted to love this book, but it disappointed me deeply. The writing is engaging, the characters are interesting, the switcheroo premise is interesting & believably executed, the development kept me turning pages and was often jaw-dropping. But... and this is a BIG but... this book wanted to be so radical, and it wants to pretend that it IS so radical, and it's not.
This author missed such an amazing opportunity to examine the nature of power itself, rather than just switching gender roles (we've seen that in so many B movies already!). Once again, 'POWER' = the power to hurt, to coerce, to destroy. I kept waiting for the author to make a radical move and show us that POWER is also (I'd argue more fundamentally) the power to create, love, and heal. What if giving women this new gift had enabled at least SOME of them to coalesce in joyful solidarity? What if the twist had given us a real show-down between two radically different conceptions of power? I kept waiting for the author to show me something new. All I got was 'power corrupts women as quickly as it does men.' A valid hypothesis, but nothing as fresh or radical as the blurbs led me to hope.


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