I have read 1984 more than any other book in my life…maybe 12-15 times. Being overly familiar with the inspiration for this retelling, I was skeptical. From Julia’s perspective, Orwell’s classic is reframed from a feminist perspective. While Winston Smith is undoubtedly sympathetic in the original as are the other male victims of the Oceania regime, they still possessed the freedoms and advantages of their gender in the classic. Imagining the same world through largely female characters was even more shocking and heartbreaking. Julia is a survivor. She does what is necessary whether it is fitting into or subverting the system. It’s is hard to like her, but even harder not to deeply admire her and hang on her every move. This powerful, uncomfortable book left me feeling much the same. Recommended!
Julia by Sandra Newman, (List Price: $30, Mariner Books, 9780063265332, October 2022)
Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia