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An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Friday, March 23, 2018

A review of "Handmaid's Tale"

A short review of "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.

When I first started the book, I had to fight off the crippling anxiety brought upon by the sheer plausibility of this happening. Even though it was published in 1985 - the world that Atwood created rings true today. Especially so given the current, often tumultuous, climate of the country/world. I mean - shit - Mike Pence probably gets off to the idea of Gilead... that is if he weren't a sexually repressed homophobic man who thinks gays should be shot... oh wait... that's exactly what they do in Gilead. Huh... strange. Where was I?

Oh, right - the book.

So... the book was absolutely worth reading. And having finished it - I've moved onto the Hulu series of the same name. And, for what it's worth, I think the series is a fantastic representation of the book. And I think I've only said that about...2? maybe 3 adaptations in the history of my book reading life (coincidentally - Altered Carbon also fits this category).

The series manages to convey the ideas and concepts of the book, even with changes, that stay true to Atwood's words. Atwood herself even has a cameo at the beginning as one of the Aunts in the Red center.
Margaret Atwood's cameo in the Hulu Series
I really liked the book. I like the idea that this was some long lost, hidden-away confessional of a woman who had to live through this horrific transition from the sane, liberal-natured, society into an insane, theological dictatorship where women become property. And not just the handmaids - but the wives as well. It's a return to the strong, white-male patriarchy similar to the one that was sought in the McCarthy era... it's a small stretch, but I see what I'm saying there.

SO - yeah. Atwood is a serious "user of words" and I love that. I get the same feeling reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife... what I mean is that when the narrator speaks - she uses 4 or 5 words that are all similar to explain a feeling or emotion or setting that helps round out and fill in the gaps which gives it a sense of fullness. Example - She doesn't just say "It's sad." She'd say "The room was desolate, gloomy... dismal in its emptiness." And you just suddenly go from "that sucks" to "oh man - now I kind of want to cut myself..."

The idea that women are reduced to their specific roles is infuriating to me... You - you're now the cook. You're the cleaner. You're the womb. Shut up, do your job. Like it... or else. That's frightening. My wife is a total badass... I have a feeling she'd be sent to the colonies in a hurry for beating the shit out of the aunts and castrating her first commander  - And if this happened, they'd not be able to take my wife until I ran out of ammo... And then I'd have to be dead. 

But I digress... 

I think you should read the book. Men and women alike. Why?  So we can recognize the potential of such an awful future in hopes of avoiding it at all costs. Extremism is bad on all sides and should be stopped... The disrespect to women as objects is bad... the hypocrisy of physical or moral superiority to anyone based on sex, religion, gender, etc... is BULLSHIT. And Atwood's tale stands as an excellent warning poster thrown up in the rain to show people what's possible if they remain aloof and inactive.  

Not so much of a review of the book as just an overall opinion of the book, I know - but it's a book. There are words. These words are used well - better than I could've done or ever will do... It's MUCH better than Oryx and Crake - god, I hated that book... Hate is a strong word - felt like I was torturing myself to finish it... is that better?  

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