What I Read: The Handmaid’s Tale
Mondays seem to be blogging days. Something about not wanting to do homework after the weekend, possibly. Anyway, sometime ago I finished The Handmaid’s Tale so now I’m going to tell you about it.
Title: The Handmaid’s Tale: A Novel
Author: Margaret Atwood
Completed: Yes indeed.
Spoiler-free Opinions: This is the first book in a long time that I just could not put down. I started it over my winter break and found myself accidentally awake until five in the morning reading it because it was so interesting. Atwood creates a world and characters so compelling and honest and possible. This is a dystopian representation of what the world could be, and it’s both an unsettling and inspiring portrayal of human emotion and motivation. I loved it, if you couldn’t tell. Gripping the whole way through.
Reading some Goodreads reviews (I can’t stay away from them even though they tend to annoy me when I disagree), I see that a few of the negative reviews are due to its being compared to 1984 or the real world politics of the time or politics at all and what I have to say about that is that this is a piece of fiction, not fact, and people need to learn to separate books from 1985 with real life, at least today. I get why it would’ve been compared in 1985. It’s 2011 now, though. And also, 1984 was good, but I enjoyed Atwood’s style better. Sorry, guys.
I actually highlighted like a million things, but I’ll just give you my favorite quotes.
Favorite quotes and phrases (spoiler free):
“They wore blouses with buttons down the front that suggested the possibilities of the word undone. These women could be undone; or not. They seemed to be able to choose. We seemed to be able to choose, then. We were a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice” (Loc. 436).
“We have learned to see the world in gasps” (Loc. 542).
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom” (Loc. 875).
“Whatever the truth is, I will be ready for it. This also is a belief of mine. This also may be untrue” (Loc. 1543).
“You can think clearly only with your clothes on” (Loc. 2076).
“Caught in the act, sinfully Scrabbling. Quick, eat those words” (Loc. 2669).
So you should probably read this, if you haven’t. (Don’t watch Children of Men right after it, though. You will have nightmares.) I’m currently reading The Blind Assassin because I liked The Handmaid’s Tale so much, and it’s already promising to be really great. Next up for What I Read: Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.
The first quote about too much choice being crippling actually reminds me of a Ted Talk I watched: Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice. A good listen, too.