Vox by Christina Dalcher

Reviewed by Teri Davis

VoxThe status of women in the United States has changed tremendously in the last one-hundred years with numerous examples of their proper relationship with men varying as much as each individual female.
The current President of the United States and his trusted Christian advisor changing women’s rights. All women are to be cared for my the head male of their family. For those married, that means their husbands. For unmarried women, the means their closest male relative.

In order to preserve the households of doting women, each female wears a bracelet limiting her speech to one-hundred words a day. Any word beyond that will cause the bracelet to shock the wearer with increasing strength as each word is said. Could you live with only speaking one-hundred words a day?
Young girls are taught in their own school. Naturally, they don’t need the level of education of their male counterparts. Girls learn additional home economics needed in their duties of being future wives and mothers.

Jean is a wife and mother of four children, three teenaged sons and one younger daughter. Every day the wife is expected to cook and clean. Women are not allowed to read books or to use a computer. Those are only for men.

For Jean, this situation is extremely difficult. She had earned a PhD and was near a major breakthrough with stroke patients who had difficulty with language. Working with a team who was discovering a treatment possibility that seemed to have positive and consistent results was a realistic expectation for her team. She was forced to become. The perfect ideal 1950s housewife using only 100 words a day preparing meals for her family, being a good wife, a good mother to three nearly grown sons who could command her, and to her young daughter while only using one-hundred words a day.
Then the President’s brother has an accident. How will helping him change her life? What is the real purpose of allowing her to return to her work? What happens afterwards?

Vox is a disturbing tale similar to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian story, A Handmaid’s Tale. It makes the reader uncomfortable and reflective about whether or not the story could actually happen. The mixed reviews seem to reflect each person’s biases of the probability.

Vox is the debut novel for Christina Dalsher. She has earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University specializing in phonetic sound changes with Italian and British dialects. She resides in Norfolk, Virginia. For her awards, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Bath Flash Award.

Vox is a thoughtfully disturbing tale that every man and woman should read.