Reading The Rainbow: Book 8
Title: When She Woke
Author: Hillary Jordan
When Hannah Payne wakes up she is a Red. For the crime of ending her pregnancy she is sentenced to be mono-chromed for sixteen years, a process that involves the injection of a virus that changes her skin color to a bright unmistakeable red. When She Woke is a beautiful mixture of Margaret Atwoods The Handmaid’s Tale, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter topped with just a hint of Orwell’s 1984. The story weaves back and forth between Hannah’s life before she is turned into a Red, and after, as she struggles to survive in the world.
When She Woke follows the same basic concept of The Scarlet Letter, replacing Hester Prynn with Hannah Payne. Hannah’s affair is also with her religious leader. However, Jordan crafts a novel that corrected all of the things I disliked about The Scarlet Letter while adding a modern dystopic twist.
First and foremost, perspective, one of my greatest pet peeves about The Scarlett Letter was that while it was about Hester Prynn, she actually says very little and it really follows the men around giving a male perspective about her life. By putting the words in Hannah’s mouth, Jordan creates a very different work, that I actually found more enjoyable in parts. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending of the book, but I understand why Jordan took that route.
But I do have to give this book to one of my older sisters, who always had a soft spot for The Scarlet Letter
Overall Rating: 4/5