Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: The Handmaid's Tale

Title The Handmaid's Tale
By Margaret Atwood
Genre Adult dystopian
Pages 311
Recommended by Book Club

First sentence We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.


Synopsis
As a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, Offred lives her life quite differently then she once did. She used to have a husband and child, now she has neither. Woman are no longer allowed to read or own property. Her entire existence depends on getting pregnant by the Commander. She should forget her past, she should accept her fate, but can she?


What it has going for it
I've wanted to read this one for along time based on its popularity and synopsis. When my book club decided to read it I was excited to finally be getting to it. I'm not sure what I was expecting but what I got wasn't it. But I'm trying to say nice things...um, the writing was disjointed and eerie yet wonderful in its way. It wasn't particularly hard to read and I liked the tiny but beautiful message of love...um, yeah, that's about it.

What's lacking
Truthfully I just didn't like this one because it was way too disturbing at first and then just plain depressing. I hated that there were things that were never explained  about the world and how it really came to be and how things worked. I felt like the author just ignored those things because she just wanted an excuse to write about the way woman are used and how we could be used. But mainly I just hated that I had no freaking idea what the author was really trying to say and why she even bothered in the first place. Ugh, I can't even say anything more without being attacked so I'll just shut up now. I'll just end by saying I wasn't impressed....at all.  

Favorite moment
I liked the glimpses into the past but that's probably just because the future in the book was so bleak.

Yea or Nay
I'm finding that, once again, (surprise, surprise) I'm in the minority in my dislike so, yeah, go ahead and read it. And when you love it will you please tell me why? Why the heck did you like it!?

38 comments:

  1. I started this one a year or so ago, but didn't get very far. I haven't gone back to it either. I plan to, someday, I'm just not in any kind of rush.

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    1. Yeah, I almost didn't finish it myself.

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  2. I'm not sure if I'll like this or not. I still plan to read it, but we'll see how I feel I guess.

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    1. I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

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  3. This post made me laugh. I probably won't be reading this.

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    1. You're not missing out on anything...I don't think anyway.

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  4. I'm so glad you reviewed this! I've wanted to read it for a while, but the premise just sounded so depressing that I wasn't sure I could handle it. I think you confirmed my suspicion. I still may read it, but obviosouly I'm going to have to be in the mood to be depressed. :)

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    1. Yes, only read it if you want to be depressed or angry.

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  5. I have no desire to read this and now I have an excuse not to.

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    1. Well, I'm happy to offer a excuse. :)

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  6. Yeah, haven't read it either. I'm not sure I could handle that disturbing/depressing story. At least you read it :)

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    1. Yeah, I'm proud of myself for finishing it. I almost didn't.

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  7. I say just because the majority takes a liking to this one and its world doesn't mean you have to. I ended up buying it at a thrift store after first hearing about it, but I'm wary about reading it. I can only take so much of novels like these, even though they are "classics".

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    1. Yeah, I wanted to read it because it's a classic but I'm not sure it was worth it.

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  8. I liked this story, but was slighlty overwhelmed by the enthusiastic analytically reviews, so I never posted my thoughts. If I remember clearly, I think there is a lot to be explored regarding the potential for society to degrade into the lack of freedom for everyone (and yes, especially women but I tend not to jump into that feminist arena). I found the book to be frightening because I see our freedoms, in this country, being taken away bit by bit so ever slowly that we are not even realizing it or feel a need to say "no" and what not --- I am guilty. Ultimately, I did not understand the ending. I was not sure about where I should stand at the end....it was too vague, I guess. Still, I own the book and am glad I do and think it could potentially be a good read for my girls...one day.

    Sorry that you did not like the story but we all cannot like the same books - how dull that would be. Kudos to for posting your thoughts....I think you did a good job of it. I need to keep your "to the point" style in mind. :)

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    1. We had an interesting discussion at book club about it so that was good. I love hearing different people's take on the same book. Just because it wasn't for me doesn't mean it's not for everyone.

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  9. Wow I've never even heard of this book. Guess I'm pretty far behind. From what the synopsis is about, I can tell I'd probably hate the book as well. I can't handle all the abuse women get in that sort of book. I'll be passing on this one.

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  10. I haven't read this book either, but I have heard a lot about it. I'm not a fan of disturbing books so I think I'll pass it.

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    1. Yes, it was quite disturbing. I wanted some more good to balance out all the bad.

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  11. +JMJ+

    We totally disagree on both Jane Eyre and Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch, so I'll probably really like this one. =P What do you think? . . . LOL!!!

    Then again, I haven't read Divergent yet and I recall you disliked it very much. Perhaps I should give it a try, and if it proves that we truly have opposite tastes, I can use you for "reverse" recommendations? ;-)

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    1. Actually, I want you to read this one so you can tell me what the heck it meant. I thought of you several times while reading it. I just know you could explain it to me.

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  12. LOL I love this post. I actually really want to read this one I've wanted to for ages. I usually find literary fiction really hard to deal with though (with a few exceptions) so I'm not sure if I will ever read it

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    1. Yeah, if it hadn't been for book club I'm not sure I ever would have go to this one even though I wanted to.

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  13. We read this for book club, and it made for a good discussion book, but I didn't love it. The idea that the men in our society could so quickly turn on us is truly frightening though!

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    1. It's very disturbing and it did make for a good book club discussion.

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  14. Really like the way you do your reviews! I read this one a long, long time ago and it frightened me a little. I remember wanting to buy a copy for all of my female friends as a warning to be aware of the world around them. Think I need to reread it as, like ibeeeg, I think the world is turning into a scary place and our freedoms are being taken away bit by bit.

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    1. Yeah, I'm the same. I watch things being taken away and get mad but I don't actually do anything about it. It's scary.

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  15. I tried to read this one a few years ago and had to put it down for another day, and I still haven't taken another stab at it. Maybe there is a reason it just keeps getting put off.

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    1. Yeah, it was really hard for me to get to. If it hadn't been for book club I'm not sure I could have finished it.

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  16. Never read this one, either, and I never planned to. At least I can see I was on the right track avoiding it. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Yeah, might as well just avoid this one. ;)

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  17. This seems interesting, definitely. I love Dystopians but this seems completely different to any that I've read so far! Totally going to pick it up but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get into it. Lovely review, Jenny! <3 Happy Friday!

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    1. It was quite different feeling anyway. If you read it I hope you enjoy it...or at least understand it better than I did.

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  18. As you know, I really loved this one. But I read it so long ago that I had trouble articulating why. I think it was largely because it reminded me that what I have is precious.

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  19. I've been tossing up whether to read this one for a while. I can tell it's going to be depressing but I don't know if it's believable enough for me not to be annoyed. I suppose a part of me just doesn't really believe that the human race would really take such a huge step back for no good reason.

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  20. That's too bad you didn't enjoy The Handmaid's Tale! Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite writers.... I understand what you mean about the lack of explanation and open ending though....that tends to happen a lot in Atwood's books :P You probably would have LOVED the movie version of the book a lot more (which I hated haha)...the movie gives audiences a very Hollywood ending so that everything is wrapped up neatly in the end.

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  21. Despite the fact that some people love this it's never been high on my list. Plus it's a big book and lately I haven't been feeling the big books at all. I just don't want to read a gazillion pages. This could be due to the fact that I don't have a lot of time to read right now too, so I want to feel accomplished.

    Sorry you didn't love it. I hate when things aren't explained in books, drives me nuts!

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