Red Clocks by Leni Zumas was a pleasant surprise read for me. I went into it cautious of the rave praises it was receiving from fellow book lovers. I truly enjoyed this novel more than I was expecting to. I think Zumas' varying story lines provides something for almost everyone. She has crossed several barriers to bring us this tale of womanhood with harrowing possibilities of the future. We follow along the lives of five different but interconnected women. In Red Clocks, female reproductive rights are front and center. This is a story where America enacts the Personhood Amendment, meaning that an embryo is considered a human being from the moment of conception and therefore makes abortion outlawed, and bans in vitro fertilization. America has also enacted Every Child Needs Two, meaning that only couples are allowed to adopt, thus rejecting single parent adoptions.
As we are being introduced to the five women I had my hesitations as to which of them I would relate to and which of them I wouldn't. I was wrong. Zumas spun these stories in such a masterful way that I easily found myself empathizing with every character, with the exception of one. We get to know The Biographer, Ro, who is single and desperately trying to conceive a child via IVF. Next, we meet The Mender, Gin, who is a herbal healer and sought out in secret by many women and at the same time shunned by men and other non believers. We follow along with The Daughter, Mattie, who was adopted into a loving family and finds herself facing an unwanted pregnancy. There is The Wife, Susan, mother of two and exasperated by her life and her marriage. I saved my least favorite character for last, the polar explorer, Eivor, I could have honestly done without this entire storyline. I appreciate the fact that it showed how far women have come but I don't honestly feel that for me it added anything to the storyline and overall it just seemed strange. This dystopian novel takes us on a very realistic ride through all of their journeys with womanhood and, where appropriate, motherhood.
This tale puts different views into various perspectives and helps you walk in someone else's shoes. Maybe you haven't struggled with conception, maybe you have struggled with it, maybe you have passionate opinions on abortion one way or the other. Bottom line, Red Clocks is thought-provoking and empathy inducing. I enjoyed the realness of the emotions I felt for these women and their various situations and circumstances.
If you are looking for a book that will challenge your thoughts and force you to consider the future, definitely read this one.
I give this one 3.5 thought-provoking stars out of 5.