Author: Naomi Alderman
At first, I was a bit sceptical to read a science fiction book as I have never been the biggest fan of this type of reading. However, the story presents a deeper message, what would happen to society if women were the strongest gender, and how having power can influence your decisions and change the way you act just because you can.
The story begins when all teenage girls around the world develop a ‘Skein’, a strip of muscle that conducts electricity around their collarbone. Soon all women in the world possess this ability as the younger women are able to wake up this strength in older women. With this gain power, women can shock, inflict pain, and kill with just the touch of their fingers.
The narration quickly escalates showing what will oppress women will do with this new empowerment. Suddenly men are no longer safe, weaker, and powerless they are left to defend for themselves. Women take over governments, military, and society overall. The concept circulates around the premise that women will be able to do better.
Under a men’s regime society has been violent and unfair to women as the story defines it, but it shows that it was not better under a woman’s management. Drunk with power and emotional, the story predicts that the situation will probably develop the same way. Brutality, pain, inequality, and gender oppression towards men quicks become the new world.
In some places around the world, our real world, some women live with fear and afraid. Walking alone at night could result in a horror story of abuse or harassment. The novel at one point narrates these feelings from a man’s perspective. How horrible is to walk alone in the dark knowing that you are weak and won’t be able to defend yourself, this is when the book becomes real for me. It is very intense how the author describes that we are animals and power is power no matter who is serving.
The ending doesn’t really provide any answers, but I think there is not an easy answer. You can’t tell how you will react if you have so much power you will not know what to do with it, or how it will corrupt you. The author mentions that even if the human race started all over there is no way of knowing how it will play out.
This is not a book that seeks gender equality if you are thinking that, is just providing a mirror of some parts of our society and how power and strength can influence that. Even with women being physically stronger there are still men hiding with money that can shape things differently, so where does it stop?
For me, this book is a must-read, the idea is fascinating, and I think it is written in a very interesting way. I can see this book becoming a movie easily, hopefully sticking exactly to what the book intended. If you find this book, please give it a read!