When She Woke by Hillary JordanWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke

byHillary Jordan

Paperback | October 4, 2011

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about

In the mid–21st century, a young woman in Texas awakens to a nightmare: her skin has been genetically altered, turned bright red as punishment for the crime of having an abortion.

Inspired by The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke depicts an American dystopia where terrorist attacks, natural disasters and a pandemic causing infertility have swung the country to the far right, and convicted criminals are “chromed” according to the nature of their crime and then released. A stigmatized woman in a hostile and frightening world, Hannah Payne must seek a path northward to safety. Her perilous journey becomes one of self-discovery and transfiguration as she realizes that faith, love and sexuality are not just political. They’re personal.

Mudbound, Hillary Jordan’s first novel (a national bestseller in the U.S. and the U.K. and a local bestseller in Canada), won the 2006 Bellwether Prize and a 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association. Longlisted for the 2009 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Mudbound was also the 2008 NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) Fiction Book of the Year. Additionally, it was a Barnes & Noble Discover pick, Borders Original Voices selection, Book Sense Pick and Waterstone’s New Voices pick.

Hillary Jordan received her B.A. in English and political science from Wellesley College and spent fifteen years working as an advertising copywriter before starting to write fiction. She got her M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University. Jordan grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma. She lives in New York City. Vis...
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Title:When She WokeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.79 inPublished:October 4, 2011Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443408026

ISBN - 13:9781443408028

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from really interesting if you liked handmaids tale, you would enjoy this
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from what a book!!! I quite enjoyed this one, but it did have a few points to ponder. Canada. This book (as well as the Handmaid's tale, and quite a few others, similar and non-similar types) have pointed to Canada as a "safe haven", or "place to go when the US (or the version in the book), is to harsh to handle", and such. Also, as more lax, and forgiving. And while I do appreciate that that is what many people and countries view us as up here in the "frozen North", it's also concerning. I love my country, 100%, but even without reading these books, it makes me wonder that we are too lax, and that we would strengthen borders, etc. - and certainly that we should protect ourselves against being taken advantage of. Abortion/continuing of the species. Abortion is a tricky subject, no matter how it's brought up. I honestly felt that it was... how to say it... that it was being rubbed in the readers face. A LOT. I do get that that was Hannah's story, but I also felt that the amount it was pushed was... excessive. At one point I wanted to stop reading because of it. I'll be honest, I am very pro-choice. I do think that the woman in many instances should have the right to choose. I do. My basis for that isn't about the mother so much, but about the child. This is a harsh and cruel world (at times more than others), and for a child to be born into it, unwanted, isn't a good place for the child. To be told of them inconveniencing the parents, and such, is not way for a child to grow up... other reasons as well. But with birth rates declining in parts of the world - is this something that COULD actually happen - that they are made illegal, and more problems with mothers who seek this then there are now. Ontario (Canada) has recently made the 'abortion pill' free to anyone with a valid prescription. Now, a bit of background, this pill has been available for some years, but at the cost of about $350 to the user, now it is "free" with a valid prescription and OHIP card.... but on the other hand Ontario has also started to publically fund ("free") fertility treatments - regardless of marriage status for women. One attempt covered through OHIP per female, as log as all requirements are met. These are two contradicting practises - but again, allows everyone to decide for themselves. I enjoyed this book. I did. I enjoyed that it makes people think, at least a bit. I didn't like the near constant reminder of abortion, and religion (major major topic!!!), but it did pose some questions that people should think about. I worry that one day, the birthrates will plummet to the point that both this, and Handmaid's Tales "foretells". I really do. I love children, and everything that goes along with them - but it does seem to be getting harder to conceive. It does. And what happens when it slows to a near stop. where will we be then - and what will we do as a response to it? Hopefully I never have to see this, in childbearing years, or even old age, and I hope my children or their children never have to go through it either. But what if. What then. And how to we recover. What can we do now to stop these "tales" from happening. where do we go from here, knowing for certain what HAS happened, and with all these "best guesses" at what WILL happen.... ?
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow. I quite enjoyed this one, but it did have a few points to ponder. Canada. This book (as well as the Handmaid's tale, and quite a few others, similar and non-similar types) have pointed to Canada as a "safe haven", or "place to go when the US (or the version in the book), is to harsh to handle", and such. Also, as more lax, and forgiving. And while I do appreciate that that is what many people and countries view us as up here in the "frozen North", it's also concerning. I love my country, 100%, but even without reading these books, it makes me wonder that we are too lax, and that we would strengthen borders, etc. - and certainly that we should protect ourselves against being taken advantage of. Abortion/continuing of the species. Abortion is a tricky subject, no matter how it's brought up. I honestly felt that it was... how to say it... that it was being rubbed in the readers face. A LOT. I do get that that was Hannah's story, but I also felt that the amount it was pushed was... excessive. At one point I wanted to stop reading because of it. I'll be honest, I am very pro-choice. I do think that the woman in many instances should have the right to choose. I do. My basis for that isn't about the mother so much, but about the child. This is a harsh and cruel world (at times more than others), and for a child to be born into it, unwanted, isn't a good place for the child. To be told of them inconveniencing the parents, and such, is not way for a child to grow up... other reasons as well. But with birth rates declining in parts of the world - is this something that COULD actually happen - that they are made illegal, and more problems with mothers who seek this then there are now. Ontario (Canada) has recently made the 'abortion pill' free to anyone with a valid prescription. Now, a bit of background, this pill has been available for some years, but at the cost of about $350 to the user, now it is "free" with a valid prescription and OHIP card.... but on the other hand Ontario has also started to publically fund ("free") fertility treatments - regardless of marriage status for women. One attempt covered through OHIP per female, as log as all requirements are met. These are two contradicting practises - but again, allows everyone to decide for themselves. I enjoyed this book. I did. I enjoyed that it makes people think, at least a bit. I didn't like the near constant reminder of abortion, and religion (major major topic!!!), but it did pose some questions that people should think about. I worry that one day, the birthrates will plummet to the point that both this, and Handmaid's Tales "foretells". I really do. I love children, and everything that goes along with them - but it does seem to be getting harder to conceive. It does. And what happens when it slows to a near stop. where will we be then - and what will we do as a response to it? Hopefully I never have to see this, in childbearing years, or even old age, and I hope my children or their children never have to go through it either. But what if. What then. And how to we recover. What can we do now to stop these "tales" from happening. where do we go from here, knowing for certain what HAS happened, and with all these "best guesses" at what WILL happen.... ?
Date published: 2017-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A bit preachy, but good I read this book in a single sitting – it was heavy, but pretty interesting. The similarities with The Handmaid’s Tale are certainly there, but this book is much more focused on religion and punishment. It got a bit too preachy at times, which definitely slowed down the pace quite a bit. Hannah’s journey was emotional, gritty and full of self reflection which was great, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t expect a lot of action! Jordan’s world building is fantastic, and her characters are complex and deeply flawed. I found myself very frustrated with Hannah’s family, and their rigid inability to grow and change. But Hannah herself does, and comes out stronger for her trials. The story ends with hope, but not full resolution, which is my favourite kind of ending. That left me curious and thinking about Hannah’s future long after I had put the book down. I wish for a sequel, even though I know it shouldn’t really have one!
Date published: 2017-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Such a wonderful treat to read
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and Entertaining Interesting modern take on the Scarlett Letter. Asks uncomfortable questions about crime, punishment, and shame while being twisty and entertaining.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from "A rose by any other name..." Perhaps it is apt to quote the Bard in reviewing this novel where murderers are punished by having their skin turned red and then released into into an unforgiving and hostile world. Hilary Jordan's main character, is found guilty of murdering her unborn child by having an abortion. She refuses to identify the abortionist or the father of the child even though it would reduce her sentence. She is 'chromatized' and quickly learns how unforgiving the world can be. Yet through all her fears she finds love and acceptance in her father (every child deserves a father like Hannah's), a fellow chrome, a female pastor, complete strangers and in the father of her child (misguided though he be). The story is a great read and reminds the reader of how cruel humans can be to one another. In the midst of such cruelty the light of small kindnesses shines ever brighter. While the novel seems to promote a woman's right to reproductive freedom, it curiously agrees with Mr. Shakespeare that "a rose by any other name...is still a rose." Hannah constantly refers to her unborn child and wonders how life might be different had she not aborted the child. While the plot engages the reader and the protagonist endears herself to the reader there is a nagging level of discomfort no matter what side of the abortion debate one is on. This is a work of fiction that compels one to look deeply at oneself and challenges one to see the other with true charity. Like William Shakespeare, Hillary Jordan presents her characters with all their warts and nobility. And any mercy that is needed she and her reader leave to a loving and forgiving God.
Date published: 2015-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from When She Woke This would have never been a book I would have chosen for myself and was a bit skeptical - it was selected at my local library as the January Book Club pick - and I ended up really enjoying it. I found the concept to be brilliant and devoured this novel in just a few days. It really got me thinking - is this where we could actually be heading? Imagine walking among criminals. Chroming (maybe not totally like this) could be a way of the future - you just never know. We already microchip pets, why wouldn't we start doing something like that with babies at birth? I have to say though that I did enjoy the first half of the book better than the last half. It started to get a little too preachy and felt rushed. I also felt like Hannah's character made a drastic change and by this I'm referring to the Simone encounter. I just found it added no value and unnecessary to the plot of the story. I understand what the author was trying to relay - that Hannah's outlook on gay people were wrong, but I still found it irrelevant. The ending just didn't have enough closure for me. I was left with too much wonder about some of the characters and how they fared. I need closure in a novel - I crave it. Even an Epilogue would have been amazing. I would be okay with a sequel, I'm interested in seeing Hannah now living her new life. Just leave Simone out of it. Having never read The Scarlet Letter, I am very interested in reading it as there seem to be a number of similarities. It is also good to know that the future still has Target and McDonald's...
Date published: 2015-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating This book captured my attention from the very beginning. The plot was original, and the journey the main character goes through is really interesting.
Date published: 2012-11-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought provoking dystopian novel not for the faint of heart Pros: intense character development, fascinating - if terrifying - world, positive message at the end, thought provoking / Cons: very dark tone, some disturbing scenes (religious / near violent) / Hannah Payne has been sentenced to 16 years as a Chrome. Her skin has been turned a rich, vibrant red in order to denote her crime of murder, for aborting her child. The scourge that killed many and made women infertile has been cured and the Sanctity Of Life laws mark women like Hannah as outcasts. Her fundamentalist Christian upbringing did not prepare her for forbidden love with a married man or the horrors she would face as a Red. When She Woke is Hannah's story of endurance, enlightenment and ultimately self-empowerment. / As with many dystopian novels, When She Woke is terrifying because in may ways it's easy to see this future coming about. In the book Roe v. Wade is overturned in order to help increase the population, an act some parties in the US are already trying to do, removing women's rights to control their own bodies and their bodies' reproduction. The idea of tracking released criminals is also one close to being realized, with the jump to making such a database open to the public only a small step further. / While based on Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is much darker. While she faces the reproach and repudiation of Christians, she also faces the lechery of those who would take advantage of the downtrodden, and a fundamentalist group the equivalent of the KKK, that targets and kills Chromes. / The book was therefore unsettling on a number of levels. It reads as though it will have an unpleasant and depressing ending, yet at some point Hannah stops letting others decide her path and takes control of her own life. It's amazing seeing her go from a cowed if outspoken Christian girl to a fully liberated woman who questions the truth and motivations of others. One who knows the consequences of her actions and is willing to face them instead of trying to please others and their notions of repentance. Her character changes so completely - yet so honestly - as the book progresses that when you reach the end it's hard to remember who she was at the beginning of the book. / Not for the faint of heart, this is a good thought-provoking read about personal rights, the justice system and being your own person.
Date published: 2011-12-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from "interesting, depressing and frustrating at the same time" pick this up when i was looking for a really interesting read. a plot of theme i have not read before. the whole idea of your skin being genetically mutated to a colour was fascinating. red (murders), blue (pedophiles, rapist) and yellow (minor crimes, b&e, petty theft). could you imagine if society genetically coloured the skin of any who was convicted of a crime? "when she woke" is a story about a young naive girl named hannah. she falls passionately in love, which leads to her colouration- red. the world she now faces as a red. interesting concept and story. themes on- love, friendship, heartache, fear and fight. at the end of the book i did consider if north america imposed this type of colourization on convicted criminals would i be as discriminative?
Date published: 2011-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Extremely Powerful Book The story itself is a familiar one. Not only does it borrow from The Scarlet Letter, there are strong influences from The Handmaid's Tale here as well. Regardless of its familiarity it is told in a way that in unique and shocking. It takes those stories and it re-enforces their messages in a whole new light. This book made me FURIOUS. Like throw it against a wall and scream furious (although I promise I am never that mean to my books). I just wanted to grab Hannah Payne by the shoulders and shake her. Her attitude and decisions did not make any sense to me (personally). That's not to say they weren't realistic. They totally were. But they weren't something I myself would do or support. They were decisions that I found ludicrous at the best of times. Let's start with the fact that she constantly puts the Reverend Dale's needs before her own, completly throwing her life away for someone who's married and, oh yeah, her reverend (a huge abuse of power). But the especially sad part is that she seems to have no value or respect for her own life. She takes on all the guilt hereself (when there's definitely blame to share) and falls on a sword that she doesn't deserve. It drove me nuts. Now that I got all of that off my chest, I want to clarify that none of the above was a criticism of this novel. I love novels that can get me angry and worked up - as long as they're going somewhere with it. I'm talking about novels that make me want to run around and debate people about. When She Woke is one of those novels. It is a novel that will provoke a reaction from you. It'll make you furious and frustrated but will also throw so much insight and sentiment your way that you'll be re-reading passages and staying up into the wee hours just to see what happens. Obviously since Hannah drove me so crazy, I needed to see what happens to her and what her future will be like. I can't tell you anything about her future without giving key points of the book away, but I can assure you that this book just keeps getting better and better. As you keep reading more and more layers are reaveled. Your assumptions about characters, and society at large, are definitely going to be challenged. Hillary Jordan has gifted us with an incredible book. It's one that points out the dangers of allowing politics and faith to interact so closely with one another. But more importantly it's a novel that reaches deep down inside you, stirs up your emotions and questions ideas that are so often taken for granted. This review and more at Christa's Hooked on Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com
Date published: 2011-11-09