The Handsmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

handsmaid's tale alt

L: 4/10

M: 5/10

Analysis from an underlined word in red, even though it’s spelled correctly:

The Handmaid’s Tale started with such a premise and inspired such excitement as I read the opening chapters. I felt as if everything that so greatly disappointed me in the build-up and conclusion of 1984 would be fixed. But alas, the same emptiness and surprising amount of anger were felt in my fingertips as I finished its final pages.

A dystopian future is crafted through the introduction of our protagonist, Offred, her sad day-to-day ritualistic existence told through time jumping slivers of backstory. These jumps through time make the book’s landscape a little rough to craft within the book’s opening beats. Once a grasp is held onto, and the plot begins to gain steam, the last pages are flipped and your left looking for answers or even a complete story. Reading this book on my phone, I didn’t pay attention to how close to the end I truly was, and then was incredibly disappointed when I realized I had finished.

The whole tale feels like the opening third of a more significant story. The pages that exist here feel wasted in the chewing of scenery, the wasting of words. They achieve a level of blandness that really paint thick the dreadful existence of Offred. She exists only for the bringing of life and a life that will never be hers. The concepts that are created in the book are genuinely frightening, and Margaret Atwood does an excellent job at the setup. I will give her that much, at least.

Analysis from a crazy straw with a hole in the loop:

So I finally picked a book with promise. I was so excited at the beginning of this book, knowing that I would finally be making my way into the upper echelon. My how the mighty have fallen.

This book started out so strong for me. From chapter one, I was totally hooked and could barely put it down. It droned on quite a bit, but the storyline was so good that I made allowances for the rare boredom. It wasn’t until I had realized that I was three-quarters of the way through the book when my patience ran out. I kept patiently waiting for the momentum to pick up, but it did not.

I love the concept of the book. It seems to be that we have a theme in 1984California, and this addition of books that run together in their governmental destruction. I wish that this particular book had played more into the excitement and real travesty of the situation at hand. I feel like it never quite had a climax. As a reader, I was titillated for so long that when there was no actual climax or payoff, I got the literate version of blue balls and lost interest in the subject completely. Hopefully, the show will get me off.

Margaret Atwood

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