The Power

Yesterday I finished reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. I went into the book cold, knowing very little about it except for the fact that many people loved it (including President Obama). And after I read a bit of it I figured it would be a book that I would be a bit lost for a while and then, boom, it would all come together.

And it did feel that way, and I’m used to that feeling; but this book also took a dramatic turn with just about 20 minutes left to read. And it’s had me thinking about it ever since.

The book is speculative fiction, what would happen if something in women physically changed and they suddenly had more physical power over men. How would both men and women react? How would women use that power?

I came away with several questions that I don’t know if I can ever answer but that I’ll be thinking about for quite some time. Is the current imbalance of power between men and women solved by the balance flipping the other way? Would women just use that power for their own benefit? Or would the utopia come?

I don’t want to say how the book portrays it, but it has me wondering if it’s human nature that makes us crave and desire power if we can get it, or if there is something inherent in our genders. And as usual I went back to Star Trek’s view again, where human nature gets away from the desire for power and instead desires balance, empathy, and knowledge.

I know, I fall back to Star Trek a lot, but, well, there is something so appealing about that world and about how people work together. And The Power made me wonder so much about what is truly related to one’s gender and human nature versus what we tell ourselves those things mean.

This is the trouble with history. You can’t see what’s not there. You can look at an empty space and see that something’s missing, but there’s no way to know what it was. (loc 4765)

This was first sent out in my newsletter on 24 September 2018. Yes, I am horribly behind on writing about what I've been reading here, apologies, I'm attempting to catch up this week.