At A Loss For Words

To start out this review, I will say that I’ve added a recipe,  lemon blueberry ricotta muffins that shouldn’t be missed, but that they have almost nothing to do with the novel, except that they have ricotta, and Italy plays a big role in this amazing book. Vox, by Christina Dalcher (affiliate link) is without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year, and seeing as how I read Reincarnation Blues, (affiliate link) that’s saying something.

Vox is one of those books that takes a while to percolate in your brain after you’ve turned the last page. You go through all seven stages of grief, and at the same time, you’re fired up and floored. It’s a book that makes you want to look at the other women in your life and start referring to them all as “sisters,” and saying things to them like “it’s time to boot and rally, sisters, because our rights are being infringed upon.”

Which is exactly what we need right now. Because this book is oh-so-relatable. Dalcher’s story is a dystopian that feels imminent. Like, if we could just tiptoe into the future a few years, that’s where we’ll be if we don’t change something right now. It’s set in present-day America, after a wave of conservative Christians are voted into office, hell-bent on twisting the Bible’s meaning to suit their purposes. They’ve taken away everyone’s passports, the women can no longer work, and soon after, the women are fitted with bracelets that act like an electric dog collar. After women speak 100 words during the day, they’re done. If they go over their words, they’re zapped with a jolt of painful electric shock.

If we keep speaking, the pain intensifies. Our daughters are in school only to be taught the basics and how to keep a household. They’ll know the ratios for a perfect cake, but not how to balance a checking account or how to invest. Our daughters will never know science or philosophy. They’re being told they’re only there to serve their fathers, husbands, brothers, children, and they’re only children themselves. The pain they receive after 100 words is no less than our own.

They don’t know better. They compete to see who can say the fewest words during the day. Their teachers give them prizes for this. They’re told their bodies are to be protected until marriage. If they disobey, they’re shipped off. Labor camps for impure women. That’s where they send all the women who speak, who challenge, who feel.

I'm at a loss for words about Dalcher's Vox, and you will be, too. Click To Tweet

Reading that in first person is uncomfortable isn’t it? That’s the whole book. It all happens so fast, and it makes you feel so much. Dalcher’s ingenious use of the first person — like Offred in Handmaid’s Tale, sets off all your “shudder” synapses. I was utterly transfixed by the eloquence of the story, while also completely repulsed by it.

The lead character is a scientist who specializes in language, and to have someone so gifted in words have them taken away, makes the chasm between the characters even more poignant.

But this is a thriller. There’s obviously going to be intrigue and rebellion, and this is where Dalcher’s dystopia is so different from Atwood’s. The fighting on all fronts is so coordinated, so raw and real that you can’t help by shout and cheer as you read. You also can’t help by weep and bite your nails. While the ending is a bit abrupt, the story is complete. I wish Dalcher had unpacked her resolution a bit more before the “the end,” but I also get why she may have wanted it to end so shortly. It feels like a full stop. In that it’s good.

Four point five stars.

This book doesn’t give itself to many recipes unless it would be for a gallon of milk. (Makes sense once you read it.) I wanted muffins, had a big jar of ricotta, lemons, and some seasonal berries, so I went with it! These lemon ricotta blueberry muffins are light, fluffy, and amazing with some tea.

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins that will make you shriek with glee. Click To Tweet


Yields 18 muffins

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

light, fluffy, tangy muffins.

20 minHow Long is This Going to Take?

20 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

What Goes In?

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups flour plus 1/4 cup to toss blueberries in
  • Zest 2 lemons
  • 1 Tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Sugar cinnamon for top
  • 2 cups blueberries

Avengers, Assemble!

  1. preheat oven to 350F
  2. spray and flour an 18 divot muffin tin (or thereabouts_
  3. whip the ricotta, vanilla, lemon zest, oil, and sugar in a mixer or with beaters on high
  4. slowly add eggs one at a time, mixer on low
  5. add milk with mixer on low
  6. toss blueberries in 1/4 cup flour and set aside
  7. sift together remaining dry ingredients
  8. slowly stir into wet ingreditents
  9. stir in the blueberries just so they're evenly divided -- GENTLY, you don't want them to break or sink to the bottom
  10. scoop into muffin divots until they're 3/4 full
  11. top each with some cinnamon and sugar
  12. bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean
  13. If your ricotta is really wet! Consider straining it a little in a cheesecloth before adding. I use a local ricotta that is much more dry than some of the supermarket ricottas. Some resemble cottage cheese, others are very stiff.
  14. Let these cool completely before you put them in containers.


Don't forget to toss the blueberries in the flour before adding them to the batter!

Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 1947
  • % Daily Value*

  • Total Fat: 88 g 135.38%
  • Saturated Fat: g 0%
  • Cholesterol: 141 mg 47%
  • Sodium: 2874 mg 119.75%
  • Potassium: 822 mg 23.49%
  • Total Carbohydrate: 261 g %
  • Sugar: 207 g
  • Protein: 59 g
  • Vitamin A: 67.26%
  • Calcium: 1585 mg 158.5%
  • Iron: 13 mg 72.22%
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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