For those of you who don’t know, about a week ago I picked up the book The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve seen it all over the internet, and people are saying it’s brilliant, revolutionary, etc. So I ordered it from the library, and began reading it-
Wait! I’ll give you the synopsis first.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead.
She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.
She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge.
But all of that is gone now…
I will admit that I was pretty intrigued by the description. And I’ve seen five-star reviews everywhere I go, which doesn’t hurt. Then I ended up starting to read this, and not finishing it.
So today’s post will give you three reasons why I didn’t want to finish this book.
The writing was very bland and unemotional.
I get that this is the way the story is meant to be written. But I wasn’t a fan – it felt extremely bland and boring. I was trying not to put the book down, because it was one of those books where I had to actually tell myself, “Right, you’re to read the next bit.”
We’re not really given much of a backstory.
We’re told what happened to America (sort of) as the story goes on, but at the start, please expect to be extremely confused. We don’t really get much of a background story (on anything) for about the first ten pages or so.
(Note I could have miscalculated. I’m not bothered to hunt out the book from wherever I left it last– oh s*** it’s a library book. I actually will have to find it once I finish writing this. Keep reading)
It is extremely boring.
Quite honestly, nothing actually really happened. I mean, bits and pieces of what previously happened are given, but nothing happens to Offred, or anyone around her. It’s like just watching a ordinary woman go about a boring day in her life.
Don’t get me wrong; the book wasn’t completely terrible. The whole idea of the future America was a brilliant one – I just think it could’ve been executed a little better.
More importantly, this book also reminded me of the privileges I have. Even though I am a girl, I am white, straight, cisgender, and live in an area that has never been touched by a terrible war (unless you count the 1916 Rising).
And I am so, so grateful for that – I plan to use my privileges in the future to help those who aren’t as privileged as me, and maybe help the world somehow.
- Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale?
- Watched the show/film?
- What are your thoughts on the idea of this particular futuristic America?