7 Things About The Wake Up

Lexi can See the truth reflected in mirrors. She can see the angels and demons we keep inside.

But this is an age where the truth is at odds with the state, and an oppressive new regime has banned the use of mirrors. Those like Lexi who can See are in grave danger, so she hides her ability from the world.

But when she falls for the suave and charismatic Dominic, she finds that those we hold closest to our hearts contain the darkest secrets.

1. The Life of Lexi:

The Wake Up follows the life of Lexi from a precocious young girl to a rebellious woman. Not only is she a Seer—which means she can look into a mirror and people change into angels or demons in the reflection—but she comes from a family of glassmakers, which is a dangerous thing to be in this time and place. As she grows up and finds her way in a world increasingly torn apart by a power-mad president turned dictator. Still, she finds love and tries to make a nice life for herself, but the reality of what she is and what she Sees is always there.

2. Totally About Politics, Except It's Not:

It's hard to know how to approach a novel like The Wake Up. On the one hand, there's something very topical about the setting of this book. A new authoritarian president is elected. He has hair 'like roadkill,' he talks about 'winning.' There's a reference to building a wall...

3. It's Totally Trump:

Or, at least, it's a very, very thinly veiled reference. And it's a clear choice by the author. She could have had an elected dictator with any number of characteristics, but she chose these specific traits. Which, for me, made it difficult to just enjoy the story on its own terms because now it's topical. Now there is a Message. Now I'm reading too much into everything to see the author's commentary on our world.

And it isn't a flattering one.

4. Totally Not About Politics:

Aside from the references to modern society, the book actually reads like a fairy story. In fact, in a different setting, I think a lot of the ideas would have worked out well. Especially one of the main premises of the book, where the president bans all man-made reflective surfaces. In a mythical kingdom with a mad king on the throne, I could totally see and get behind an Official Decree Banning All Glass Used For Reflection.  But the modern United States? ...That's just too wide a chasm for my suspension of disbelief.

5. Not. About. Politics!:

It really isn't. The only thing that the president in this book does is enact law 666 (a bit on the nose, yes?) which bans mirrors in the United States. There is nothing in this book about modern issues regarding race, religion, immigration, the separation of powers, environmental policy, or anything else that the talking heads scream about every night on the news. If it wasn't for the presence of Ronald Plump in the background, one could probably interpret this as an allegory at most.

But at the same time, the story almost needed that baggage because, by itself, the oppressive government didn't seem that bad. It was terrible if your family happens to be in glass making or you hallucinate and see angels and demons in mirrors. But, for everyone else, pretty much America as normal. Unless you firmly hold mirrors as a Basic Human Right, in which... well... okay.

Imagine watching the news, and there is a story about how Kim Jung Un banned mirrors in North Korea. My reaction would probably be one of confusion and mild curiosity but not outrage. That's kind of how I felt about the government in Waking Up.

6. This Is Why Setting Matters:

I think this story would have fared far better in its own world with its own rules and its own reality and history.  Trying to stitch it to our world seems to make a very confused Frankenstein's monster. The fairy tale aspect and the modern allegory clash like the angels and the demons do in the book, constantly fighting but one never getting ahead of the other.

7. The Verdict ⭐⭐⭐:

There are some aspects about this story I liked. I think Lexi was a compelling and sympathetic main character. Some details of the world were unique, and the overall idea was interesting. The execution just wasn't there.


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