The Power by Naomi Alderman
Publication Date: October 2016
My Rating: ✹✹
“In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks 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.“
“You have been taught that you are unclean, that you are not holy, that your body is impure and could never harbour the divine. You have been taught to despise everything you are and to long only to be a man. But you have been taught lies.”
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The concept of this book was brilliant and I felt like it had so much potential. But the story just wasn’t engaging at all, in my opinion. It took me well over a month to read this book. In fact, I literally read a couple of pages at a time on my bus journey to work every day, and that was it. I just could not get into it.
The Power has very obvious nods towards rape culture, and lets you imagine a world where men live in constant fear for their physical safety, instead of women (as many women do across the world). Alderman considers how this would affect a variety of people and issues, from terrorism to religion, and she does this through the eyes of four very different people.
Some of the four characters perspectives were much more interesting for part of the book and then became tedious, and others doing the reverse of that. Some of the characters verge on cliches and stereotypes, and it doesn’t help that they were difficult to relate too in any way.
Overall, it was a mixed bag of fascinating ideas, a lack of focus and over-simplified male/female power dynamics. The chapters felt dragged out without purpose or direction, and the ending was possibly even more disappointing than the rest of the book. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s not worth more than a 2 star rating.
About The Author:
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones’ 25 Writers for the Future. From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on the alternate reality game Perplex City. She’s written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling smartphone fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run!. Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes frequently for the Guardian. She is one of the presenters of Science Stories, as well as presenting many one-off documentaries.