Tag Archives: Naomi Alderman

Book Club Reflection: The Power by Naomi Alderman

28 May

My book club met last week to talk about a book I didn’t particularly like, The Power by Naomi Alderman. It was very OK for me, nothing outstanding and nothing terrible. It seems we were all a mixed bag on this one.

Despite having so many American characters, the writer is British. She mainly writes science fiction and is friends with Margaret Atwood. She won the Baily’s Women’s Prize for Fiction for this book.

The letters that began and ended the novel were a bit out of place and confusing. We thought they may have been more effective if they’d been scattered throughout the novel instead of only at the beginning and end. Naomi seemed very critical and heavy-handed, but we wondered if this was criticism because she’s a woman or because she was honestly heavy-handed.

The other structural thing that we talked about was the artifacts. They seemed a bit out of place in the book and one reader noticed an inconsistency. One of the artifacts was an Apple device (bitten fruit) and how it was unknown what that thing was. Yet at another point in the book, someone was using an iPad. It just didn’t seem to jive.

The story was quite violent and brutal. Some of our readers felt this was just what one should expect with war and such radical change in a country.

We pointed out that Alderman did address transgender people as it applies to this new world. Jocelyn’s boyfriend at one point has some small power in a skein and he’s ostracized and criticized by both men and women; for not belonging and for thinking he could belong. It was a nice touch for her to include this.

Each of the different speakers gave us a unique perspective on the changes. Roxy was very powerful but she still had the ‘feminine’ quality of mercy. She had mercy on her father when we suspected he would not have had the same. That ended up being her downfall.

Ally raised a lot of questions for us. Some wondered if the voice she heard was a coping mechanism, a way of dealing with the trauma she faced in foster care. If it was divine intervention, did Ally really believe in what she was doing? Or was she enjoying a way to manipulate the system and grow into her power?

Tunde’s classic observer view was great and a lot of us liked him. He was so used to male privilege that he assumed he would be OK and evade the rules. He stayed longer than he should have, as happens to journalists today. We all had to shrug when he said he felt unsafe walking down the street. We’d all felt that way at one time or another. It was just funny coming from a man.

The part that shared the comments section from the UrbanDox site was chilling because of how real it felt. It could have been the comments section of almost any news article today. When someone in power feels threatened, they lash out at a minority or a group that is gaining power. It’s this reason that changes can take so many centuries to happen: the powerful don’t want to give up their power. It’s why we still struggle with racism today in a world that is ‘equal.’

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The Power by Naomi Alderman (3/5)

9 May

I’d seen a bit about this book a while back but it had fallen off my radar when my book club selected it. This is another instance where I’m glad I knew nothing about the book before reading it because I think the development of the skein would have been ruined for me. This was fun to discover as I went.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Summary from Goodreads:

In The Power the world is a recognizable 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 agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the idea of women becoming the dominant sex though I didn’t like that it had to be an almost magical power they gained to make it happen. I also didn’t like the number of characters we followed through the book, it almost seemed like too much. I think the narrator took a little away from this for me, too. She wasn’t my favorite.

We got a good variety of characters in this book and, for the most part, they eventually overlapped which was a nice way to tie the whole thing together. I appreciated that, though I think we could have done without one or two of them. Margot was a hard character for me to like but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t believable. I could see someone like her coming to power and maybe that’s what was so unlikable about her. You felt terrible for Jocelyn, being the daughter of such an ambitious woman who seemed to be using her daughter for political gain. Unfortunately, I could see it happening.

Allie was my favorite character. I’m not sure if I think the voice was God or not, but I thought her journey was the most interesting. The way she rose to power and the following she created was incredible. The way she spoke when the Voice was speaking through her was so markedly different from the one in her internal dialogue and I appreciated that in the writing. I liked how she teamed up with Roxy. They were my favorite pair. I think she may have taken things just a little too far, but I still liked reading her story.

Jocelyn was the most relatable to me. Her position, with inconsistent power, is most like a woman in a mans’ world today. She is nervous to show her power and looked down on when she is overpowered. She’s trying everything to stand out and nothing works so she takes stupid risks. I think I’ve felt like or done all of these things at one time or another.

Naomi Alderman Image via The Guardian

I enjoyed the flashes to the future when they would share a museum view of modern objects. The analysis of an iPhone sticks with me a lot. I liked that aspect of sharing objects that would be used in the book and tieing it into the post-Cataclysm view of the present. These bits were a nice way to break up the book.

I didn’t feel like the ending was really clear, or maybe I rushed through it. I’m about to spoil it so skip this paragraph to avoid that. I guess I’m supposed to assume that the rebel army used nuclear weapons to such an extent that they ended civilization altogether. It was on the brink of collapse anyway so I can see how that might happen, but it was still a bit much for me. I don’t understand how that would result in all knowledge of what happened during the time but would leave enough people alive for humanity to restart in a few thousand years. Maybe I’m being nit-picky, but it seemed like a bit of a rush to me. Especially that we’d develop English and publishing again, as Naomi and Neil write in English and are both authors. I think if we got to do everything over again, we might do a few things differently.

The audiobook is narrated by Adjoa Andoh and at times, I liked her and at times I didn’t. I liked her for Tunde, Roxy, and Allie but I didn’t like her for Margot and Jocelyn. Maybe it was the Brit reading an American thing, but it didn’t work for me. She made Margot too pushy in my opinion, and Jocelyn too weak.

The Power discusses the nature of power. Is power derived from physical strength like a skein? Or is it from nuclear weapons? Political pull? Followers? Fear? Information? Each of the characters had power in a different form and none of them were all-powerful. There are different kinds of power needed at different times for different things Allie didn’t have fear or information, but Roxy had fear and physical power. Tunde had information, but little strength. Together, they could have done a lot more than they could apart.

Writer’s Takeaway: When I started the book, I thought the characters would never meet or intertwine and I resigned myself to that. But when they did, I was so glad because they enhanced each other’s stories. Roxy showing up to save Tunde or Jocelyn meeting Roxy’s brother or Margot meeting Allie, all of these times I became more invested in the characters because they were made more vivid by the eyes of the other characters. I liked how Alderman drew them together.

Enjoyable, but not a favorite. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the Future time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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WWW Wednesday, 24-April-2019

24 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still moving forward with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min but it’s starting to drag. It feels like nothing has happened in a while and I’m starting to get a little bored of this one. I hope something major happens soon, it feels like it’s due.
I’ve made decent progress on Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton despite being so busy the past week. I try to read a chapter before bed each night, but I keep falling asleep too quickly to finish. I think I can have this one finished next week, though.
I started The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob over the weekend. I’m having flashbacks to Lahiri’s The Lowland so far but I’m not sure if it will continue that way. It’s just something about brothers fighting in India that’s got me comparing them.
I started the long journey that is A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This monster is 36 disks long and I’m on disk 3. And I’m happy with that. It will be on here a while longer, I’m sure. This is going to be fun.

Recently finished: I finished Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to see the movie as soon as I find a copy. I adored Simon’s voice and I’m not sure how that will translate to film, but I can’t wait to see them try.
I finished The Power by Naomi Alderman over the weekend. I’m still feeling out how I feel about this book. I liked the idea and how it played out, but I’m not sure how I felt about the characters. Sometimes, it was just a little too much for me.

I’ve got two book reviews posted as well. The first was my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I’m still vacillating about reading the rest of the series. I have an opinion poll on the review page so please check that out.
I also posted my review of News of the World by Paulette Jiles. My book club will be meeting next Monday to discuss this so I’m glad I was able to review it before then. I’ve been falling so far behind that’s become a problem.

Reading Next: I’ll read Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi as my next physical book. It’s been sitting on my shelf for so long. I’m glad to finally get it off.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-April-2019

17 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s still steady-going with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. It’s not engrossing me as much as I would like and I keep waiting to be swept into it, but I’m almost halfway through and it’s not happening. I’ll keep pressing forward!
I’m obsessed with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Simon’s voice is so perfect, I’m loving it. Honestly, it’s making me feel like my YA novel is never going to get published if this is the standard I have to stand up to. I’m finding excuses to drive around so I can listen to this.
I’m getting toward the end of The Power by Naomi Alderman and finally starting to see where it’s going. There are jumps forward and backward in time and they slowly merge into a big event. I’m getting close to it now. I think it’s safe to say this one will be finished next week.
I started reading Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton. Hinton is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, The Outsiders so I’m excited to pick up something new by her. This one is relatively short so I hope it doesn’t stay on this list very long.

Recently finished: I’m happy to say I finished Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. This one had me staying up late to read just a few more pages each night and I think I frustrated my husband by keeping the light on later and later. There’s a movie of this one and I can’t wait to see it. What a complicated issue Bohjalian created. I think it will play out well on screen.

I was able to post one review this week, Dodgers by Bill Beverly. My book club met this past week to discuss it as well so I’ll have another post about this one coming up soon. I enjoyed the book but the discussion actually brought up a few issues I hadn’t thought of before so I’m really glad for this group of people who have challenged me to think more about books.

Reading Next: I still plan to pick up Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi as a physical book, I’ve just pushed it back one. I’ll get to this when Hawkes Harbor is done.
My next eaudiobook will be The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob. This book was hyped a lot a few years ago and I haven’t heard much about it since but it’s lingered on my TBR all the same.
I think it may finally be time. I tend to listen to ‘bad summer books’ in the summer. I’m going to start on A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This will be a long endeavor to be sure, but I’m ready for it. I’ll be caught up to my husband finally. And it will be good to be catching up on the books as the show ends.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 10-April-2019

10 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s still steady-going with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. I only had two lunches last week to read and this week isn’t looking better. I’ll keep making my way through, though. No rush on this one.
I’m really enjoying Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I squeezed a little extra reading time this weekend even though I couldn’t afford it. I hope to finish this one soon and not have it linger on this list for more than one more week.
I got my hold on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and was finally able to start it! I hope I have some long drives to get through this one quickly because I’ve been waiting for it forever!
I started reading The Power by Naomi Alderman on Sunday. Not too far into this one yet. I’m excited to stay one step ahead of my book club, though! We didn’t get our copies of this until Monday. Staying ahead is letting me focus on books I want to read, not just those for groups.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up News of the World by Paulette Jiles which was a lovely little book. I hope I remember it well enough for our next meeting because it seems so far away. I’ll get around to a review at some point. I feel so behind in reviews that it could be a week or two before I finally get to it! Better this than struggling for content, though.
I finished Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor Sunday morning. I enjoyed the story but it’s clear this is the first of a series. It was very unfinished and I was a bit disappointed. I hoped there was something more I would get before the book ended, but it was a set-up for the next books. I’m still debating if I’ll finish the series.

I posted two reviews this week. The first was for Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. Not a favorite read, but a solid one. I enjoy Larson’s style but this topic didn’t grab me as much as earlier ones have. I’ll have to try again soon. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book was a joy for me and I hope I can see the movie soon and experience it all over again! I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll grab another book off of my shelves next. I’m feeling great about getting through so many! Next up is Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. I added a number of concentration camp memoirs to my TBR after listening to Anne Frank’s diary a few years ago. This one was a little harder to come by but I have a copy and I look forward to reading it!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!