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TMW Book Reviews

Review – Women Rising

by

John Sant’Ambrogio

Women Rising, authored by John Sant’Ambrogio, is a novel that explores the social upheavals caused by a mysterious cosmic event, resulting in women physically growing taller and stronger worldwide. This imaginative narrative merges elements of speculative fiction with profound social commentary, offering a narrative that is both engaging and thought-provoking.

The story begins in a small town where the lives of two families—the Carters and the Porters—are intertwined through friendship despite their socio-economic differences. The novel opens with a seemingly normal evening disrupted by an inexplicable phenomenon—a mysterious orb in the sky—after which women begin to grow taller and stronger rapidly. Sant’Ambrogio masterfully captures the initial confusion and awe, setting the stage for the societal shifts that follow.

As the plot unfolds, the physical transformation of women leads to a deeper societal transformation. The author delves into themes of power dynamics, gender roles, and societal expectations with a deft touch, avoiding didacticism. The character of Annie Carter, who becomes notably taller, embodies the central conflict of the story—her new physical stature challenges the traditional domestic roles and interpersonal dynamics, particularly with her husband, Steve.

The brilliance of Women Rising lies in its ability to use a fantastical scenario to mirror real societal issues. Sant’Ambrogio’s characters are well-drawn, with their reactions to the changes offering a microcosm of broader societal reactions. For instance, Bob Porter’s struggle with his wife Jane’s new physical dominance leads to transformative personal introspection, illustrating the potential for personal growth amidst chaos.

Sant’Ambrogio’s narrative is rich with scenes that explore the ramifications of the changes from multiple perspectives, including the impact on workplaces, family dynamics, and individual self-esteem. The author’s style is engaging, with a blend of humor and seriousness that keeps the narrative lively and relatable.

Moreover, the story is not just about the challenges but also about the opportunities for redefining relationships and societal structures. It posits a world where physical strength does not dictate power, suggesting a reevaluation of what truly constitutes strength and influence in society.

In conclusion, Women Rising by John Sant’Ambrogio is a compelling read that uses speculative fiction to explore real-world issues of gender dynamics, power, and societal change. It is a thoughtful, well-paced novel that not only entertains but also invites readers to ponder the possibilities of a world transformed by an extraordinary event. This book is recommended for readers interested in gender studies, speculative fiction, and societal commentary.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2025