Women’s Work

Verdict: WOMEN’S WORK is a well-written book with a moving story inhabited by believable characters. The emotions are genuine and the reactions to the social upheaval around them, while sometimes surprising, add even more credence to the story line. If the purpose of WOMEN'S WORK is to make a reader think, Aguila has achieved this.

IR Rating

 
 

5.0

IR Rating

WOMEN’S WORK, on the surface, is the story about a post-World War III world where women have taken charge of trying to create a new society from the rubble around them. As one reads further, however, it evolves into an examination of male and female stereotypes. Women now head families and govern themselves through “neighborhood” meetings while the few men left  stay at home and have little to say about their governance (or much else).

Author Kari Aguila’s plot opens in medias res but with a series of well-placed flashbacks she paints a picture of this matriarchal society and its evolution. Women rebelled after the near total destruction of the planet and took charge. Rogue bands of soldiers roam the countryside looting and pillaging, giving credence to the women’s belief in their own superiority because they did not have the inherent violent streak found in men. Kate, a survivor of the war and a neighborhood leader, works her farm and raises her three children, Margaret, Laura and Jonah. One evening a man approaches her farmhouse, something that should have cost his life but he held a sickly child, his son, in his arms. They have been living in the woods near her home and the child has a severe fever. Kate takes in the child and nurses him while keeping his father at a distance. Eventually she befriends both father and son attempting to integrate them into her neighborhood. The fear of both genders makes this difficult, at best, with both father and son in danger if they are discovered. Trust turns to panic as the reaction to these two “unattached” males spins out of control and violence ensues. The climactic ending involves a plot twist where the beliefs of the new order are questioned and the neighborhood comes to grips with the tenuous relationship between safety and violence.

WOMEN’S WORK is a well-written book with a moving story inhabited by believable characters. The emotions are genuine and the reactions to the social upheaval around them, while sometimes surprising, add even more credence to the story line. If the purpose of WOMEN’S WORK is to make a reader think, Aguila has achieved this.

Reviewed by Ed Bennett for IndieReader.

  • Dangerous

    Five stars? Really?
    I can see why women would like the story — given the premise and the nature of the characters — but I can only guess that Ed Bennett gave it five stars out of some obligation for political correctness.
    It’s a well-written novel for the style of women’s fiction, but as social science fiction — a genre for which I claim some decent taste — the premise is thin and the larger issues are glossed over with platitudes. And the central conflict doesn’t support a larger theme, particularly since there is barely any conflict within the female dominated community. In the new world order women don’t argue with each other about stupid stuff any more? I find that hard to believe.
    The story could also use some subplots but there aren’t any. Instead the long descriptive and dialog passages focus on the mundane. That’s actually okay if it helped to build the story, rather than just glorify the peaceful world the female-run proto-society created.
    I think Kari Aguila is a good writer and this is a solid first effort at fiction. If the premise were more plausible — such as an alternate present resulting from women never having earned the vote in the USA versus an alternate future after women losing all of their gains of the past two centuries — I might have given it four stars or better. Such a novel would also have provided better thematic opportunities. But since elected people then took away rights, women must have voted them in.
    3.5 stars, tops.

  • Zeus

    What an amazing conversation starter this book is! I’ve been talking about it for days. This book started a little slow for me, but I’m so glad I kept reading – I really liked the parts that described the steps Kate had to take just to get food for her family. It made me so glad for the comforts and conveniences we have in our modern world! Overall, I could not put it down and read it all over two sittings. As I was just about the get angry about the suspense that kept building – I reached the page where you will not be able to put the book down but will want to throw the book across the room in anger all at the same time!!! I enjoyed the character development throughout along with the descriptive language that brought me into their home and their lives vividly and willingly. I will be sharing this book with my reading friends – both verbally and by buying more copies. I think every woman will have something to say about this story.