Split Personality Book Club: The Power by Naomi Alderman

In case you missed the first installment of Split Personality Book Club (SPBC for short), check out my last blog post here for an introduction to the characters.

This evening, Sheila, Cindy, Farah, Suzanna, and Ray all gather at Farah’s highrise apartment. Farah doesn’t believe in traditional furniture, so everyone is awkwardly perched on silk cushions and/or woven reed ottomans. Ottomen?

Farah: Welcome friends, I’m so glad to be your hostess tonight. Can I offer anyone some gluten-free, dairy-free, salt-free bean dip? I made raw kale chips too.

Cindy: Wouldn’t that just be plain kale?

Farah: (ignores Cindy) Who wants saké? (everyone holds out their glasses)

Sheila: Let’s get started, shall we? What did everyone think of The Power?

Suzanna: I have to be honest, I didn’t finish the book. I thought I told everyone I couldn’t read horror? (Suzanna gulps her saké and makes a face)

Ray: It’s hardly a horror book.

Cindy: Yeah Suze, it wasn’t horror, it was the future! Women taking over the world by evolving into electric weapons? Yes, please.

Sheila: Does this mean you actually read the book, Ray?

Ray: Please. I do know how to read, you know. I’d have totally stolen a skein from one of those bitches. (Ray read a detailed review on Goodreads)

Farah: I loved the spiritual aspect… how religion was impacted by the women’s evolution? It seemed realistic.

Sheila: Absolutely, Farah. Historically, religion has adapted to changes in human behaviour and social structure, so it does make sense that a shift like the one in the book would impact belief systems. Did you feel like there were any loose ends? Maybe the speed at which women embraced violence?

Cindy: I don’t think so. I thought it made perfect sense.

Farah: No way. I always say that if the world were run by women, there would be no more wars. I’d like to think that that’s true even if we all developed homicidal superpowers.

Suzanna: I agree.

Ray: I thought the whole electric sex bit was interesting. I wonder if people would really get all BDSM if they could shock each other with their fingers.

Cindy: Maybe we should get a taser and find out?

Ray: Ew, back off, woman.

(Cindy twists a lock of her hair around her finger and winks suggestively at Ray)

Suzanna: For the next book, can we please read something light? Sophie Kinsella has a new one out.

Sheila: We’ll come back to that, Suzanna. How did everyone feel about the multiple POV? I thought it was interesting to have one main male character amongst the female ones. Did you think Tunde’s character helped balance the story?

Farah: I think that a male perspective was necessary. If the story came only from the women, it wouldn’t have been clear why the men reacted the way they did.

Sheila: Yes, and his reactions changed over time as the women became more powerful.

Cindy: He started to get away with a lot because the female leaders found him attractive. He was kind of cocky about it.

Sheila: What do you think the story tells us overall about power and control and the behaviour of those who wield it?

Ray: Whoever has power will use it for evil?

Farah: I don’t think it tells us anything because it wouldn’t have happened that way in real life.

Suzanna: Exactly. (She blushes) I mean, from what I did read.

Sheila: I think it tells us a possible version of what would happen in those circumstances, but my thought is that those with power and control often make decisions for those with less power, based on what they feel, from their biased position, is best. Their priority is maintaining their power, even when their stated purpose is the good of all.

(Everyone blinks at Sheila)

Cindy: Farah, is there any regular wine? (She waggles her empty sake cup)

Sheila: (sighs) Let’s wrap up shall we? Suzanna, you can pick the book for next week.

Suzanna: Oh, thank goodness! I pick I Owe You One. (She pulls 4 copies out of her corduroy messenger bag and passes them around)

Cindy: (spills wine from her newly filled glass on her copy)

Sheila: See you next time, everyone!

Published by Rita

I like to write things.

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