Sticks and Stones

Vox - Christina Dalcher

How many words do you use in an hour? A day? A week? What if you could only use 100 words a day? Would you use them more wisely, or suffer the consequences of the 100-word rule? For Jean and her daughter Sonia, this is their reality. They must use their words wisely and so does every woman in the near future of the US. Yet, Jean gives the change to regain her voice but it comes at a price. A price that may silence everyone in the process. Will she allow a whole race to be silence for a brief period to regain her own?




With the current political environment, this book seems to bring a realistic future of what it could be like for women. Recently, women have stopped the silencing of their voice. Through such movements as MeToo and literature/media as a Handmaid’s Tale. Bringing into focus the unequal balance between a male and a female as well as the roles they should play. Breaking the patriarchal hegemony rules that are placed upon them, in which a female's point of view is not valid. Dalcher also touches on situations of women having a chance to have a voice and choose to not use them. This can be through cultural domestication or passive naiveness.



  • Dalcher choices a strong and educated woman to be the lead protagonist. Jean is a headstrong linguistic scientist, who was on the verge of making a scientific breakthrough. The storyline follows her struggles of being silenced and having to be subordinate to her husband. The everyday struggles of what happens when someone can not voice how they feel or defend themselves. Not being able to soothe a child, speak of their day or even vent about a problem. Through this process, she realizes how much speaking in any form is vital to how a person views themselves.
  • Jean is a strong and educated woman, but like many women do not participate heavily in politics. She was not blind to what was going on and how the government environment changed for the worse. She chooses to believe that it would never happen., that her voice or actions could not influence in any way. Jackie is her polar opposite, the activist and headstrong political leader. She symbolizes the anti-culture in the book; outspoken, educated and lesbian. She refuses to conform and is the moral compass of Jean. Trying to make her realize that only you can give up your voice.




  • The book is very aggressive in the view of how the 100-word count is implicated. Picking a conservative religious group and leader. Although this is not a new premise, the way it is presented is a little harsh, although I do not know if that is the correct word to use. Maybe a point of view from another side would have made the story feel less one-sided.
  • Jean has an affair with a coworker. Although this relationship has a means to an end for Jean and a closing to the book, I didn’t really like her affair. The plot gave much reason to why she did what she did. Her home life was not a happy one and she felt disjointed from her kids because she could not participate in their lives like the father. Also, she had been stripped of all her merits and hard work. Yet I felt like the affair was a kind of cop-out.



  • A lascivious action made tender by the gentleness
  • I have words now, but I have no idea how to use them
  • Memory is a damnable faculty
  • Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.