Angela and I

Angela and I

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I Read: The Handmaid's Tale

"Night falls.  Or has fallen.  Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn?"

It's book day, it's book day, it's book day!!  Wednesdays are cool. And now they are even COOLER because it's the day I do my weekly book review.  Ok, ok, so I am the only person that would get excited about that but I love books and I love talking about them. SO RAMBLE, I SHALL! This week I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood...

Why I read it: Ever since I watched this trailer and had a LOT of feelings about it, I've been having a hankering for some good old, dystopian literature. It's one of my favorite genres and this particular book has been on my to-read list for a while.  Not to mention, the weather lately has been nothing short of apocalyptic and I'm very susceptible to that. All of these factors just made me want to read something futuristic and bleak, you know?! Just me?  Alright,  moving right along....

What I loved: I enjoyed how Offred, the protagonist who's true name we never learn, jumps right into the story without any exposition.  I felt like a detective reading my way through the book, picking up context clues and piecing together how our own world has become in this iteration of the future.  She hops between  flashbacks from her previous existence, her own thoughts, and the action taking place around her.  I've always been a fan of stream of consciousness narratives, and this one was fun to follow.  This society's structure was fascinating and terrifying at the same time.  Without coming out and stating "I'm scared", the narrative voice makes the reader feel the imminent danger and fear dwelling beneath the surface of the highly calculated world that has been created. 

What I didn't love:  While I respect the author's choice to keep everything about this story mysterious, I couldn't help but want a bit more information!  This is really a testament to the writing, but I definitely wanted to know more about the society and the chain of events which morphed our world into the one in the book. I wanted so badly to know more about the political atmosphere, since I know the politics of the time heavily influenced Atwood's writing.  I also wanted to know every single detail about Offred's life before and what happened to Luke and their daughter.  Obviously, since this book is written in first person and Offred doesn't know these facts, that would be impossible...but that doesn't mean I'm not a curious kitten! 

Why you should read it: 
-If you love dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature: What are you waiting for?  This is everything you love. 
-If you are interested in women's rights: This book puts an interesting spin on how far we have come as women.  In the new society women have virtually no rights, yet in an age of declining births they are a commodity. It definitely made me thankful for all the pioneers who came before me.
-If you love certain YA books but want to be a little more adult: We are a generation of 20-somethings that is clinging on to our beloved young adult novels with every ounce of strength we have.  But , never fear!  This book gave me everything I could ask for when all I wanted to do was re-read The Giver for the 34th time. 

"But who can remember pain, once it's over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind." 

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