I was expecting to hate the Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison. It deals with tricky subject matter: what would the world look like if a diseased rendered everyone infertile and decimated the world’s population, leaving almost one female alive for every ten males? Instead of a contrived piece of propaganda, I was surprised by the book's depth and left with a lot to ponder.
What I like ✅ tackles the themes of identity and trauma in an interesting, insightful and mature way
✅ realistic, interesting and relatable female protagonist
✅ strong, believable characters
✅ uses in different writing styles to enhance the protagonist's deteriorating mental state -- journal entries, stream of consciousness
✅ brilliantly creates an atmosphere which mirrors the protagonist's isolated and dark inner and outer world
What I didn't like ✖ seems to imply that the only thing currently holding men back from raping is law enforcement, as rape-gangs form within a month of the women-killing plague in the book
✖ women are always portrayed as the ones exploited, it would have been good to explore women as the exploiters
Things to consider ➖ the perspective switches to omniscient narration and a different limited-first person perspective so the reader can discover the fate of other characters and nations, while I liked this, some reads may find it takes them out of the story
➖ although integral to the plot, there are graphic descriptions of sexual violence which some readers may find upsetting
Rating 4/5🌟 Verdict
Discussion I walked away from this book uncomfortable, but happy I read it. Did you enjoy this book?