Book Review: Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

35099035

In the not too distant future abortion is illegal. IVF has been banned and the clock is ticking for any women who wants to have a child past a certain age or a child on her own. This is America. In one city, four women deal with their own lives in relation to these changes. This is their story. A pregnant teenager, a healer trying to help, a frustrated mother and a woman wanting to be a mother more than anything.

I knew I wanted to read this as soon as it was released so as soon as I could I requested it and was graciously given a copy to review and devoured it. The scariest thing about this novel, it could be a reality in the US from recent news, which is exactly why you need to read it.

One of the best parts of this novel is that women come through for women but not in a cheesy way. Becuase of the situation they are in there is a vibe where women pass on vital knowledge to other women to help each other but not in a cheesy way. Also, this novel isn’t about hating men. Are there some terrible guys in this? Yes, but most importantly they are not the focus, not a plot point they just exist. This is a novel for an about women.

The one criticism that I have is that I felt the character of Susan, a frustrated mother didn’t add that much to the story. I understood why she was included but I just felt a little irritated with her and her perspective on things. You don’t need to like every character in a book and out of the four main women she was the one I felt the least connected with in any way.

I gave this 4 stars. I was thinking about this constantly for about a week after reading it. I had so many thoughts, questions and a little bit of anxiety. That said, it is a really important novel and a stunning debut. I can’t wait to see what Zumas comes up with next.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my review copy

My Big Mouth: If it’s not your body, it’s not your decision.

After watching the BBC3 Documentary on abortion in Ireland this week I decided that it was right to write this post. Despite abortion becoming legal in the 1960s in Britain, Northern Ireland decided that they did not want to partake in this. Getting an abortion in Northern Ireland is illegal, meaning many women resort to either trying to induce an abortion themselves or paying out to travel to England for the procedure.

When I was younger I didn’t understand why anyone would get an abortion, who didn’t want a baby? The older I got, however, I realised that the issue wasn’t as black and white as it seemed. For any woman getting pregnant brings anxieties, for someone who was desperately trying not to get pregnant it can be heart breaking because no matter how careful people are there is always a chance, which some people seem to forget. More often than not there is a stigma of an accidental pregnancy even though we’re all aware that condoms split, pills fail and there can be defective implants and yet women are still judged and in some parts of the world treated like criminals.

I’ve never had an abortion, I hope that I never have to. I do, however, have friends who have gone through a lot I’ve had friends who felt the only option they had was to have an abortion: I have friends who have had miscarriages and have to deal with that heart break, I have friends who continued with the pregnancy and others who can’t get pregnant at all. My point is that each woman is individual, they have their own thoughts, plans and having a child should not be forced upon them. I did research into the idea that it is ‘killing’ a child, apart from the foetus cannot feel pain at this point.

Do I think the limit should be lowered? Yes. I think that 20 weeks is too late for an abortion in my personal opinion, just because of the rate in which we can premature babies alive, this is one of the grey areas. That said, the majority of abortions happen way before this point when there is no change a foetus could have life as for a long time it is not a ‘baby’ as we see it, but cells. As harsh as I know that sounds it is the image of this perfect baby from conception which can lead women to reacting in a way they otherwise wouldn’t. This needs to be handled from a medical perspective, not one of emotions.

Which is why when I see protestors outside of abortion clinics or standing in the street yelling abuse and holding horrific pictures to women ,who frankly have enough going on without it, I get angry. Who are THEY to impose their beliefs on another persons body? I doubt there are any women who are happy to go through an abortion, it’s not pleasant and it’s nothing someone sets out to do. I don’t care what your religion says, it is that woman’s choice and often they are thinking of the implications of the sort of life a child would have at that time.

So yes, I am pro choice. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business quite frankly and we do not need to shame a woman but let her live her life without shame, embarrassment and stigma.