Love it! I read somewhere Philip was asked what this book was about and responded with "what happens when Sarah Palin is elected president." The bookLove it! I read somewhere Philip was asked what this book was about and responded with "what happens when Sarah Palin is elected president." The book is a distopian young adult novel. It centers on a young woman on a journey of self discovery and self revelation. This book depicts three brutal murders and illustrates live with fear. The government is controlled by the elected leader, a conservative religious zealot, and her right hand man, the head of their faith. The Holy Man is missing when the novel begins and through out it the main character and the reader are left trying to figure out what exactly happened to him and to everyone else around him. The religious community has high esteem for a missing serial killer who disappeared years ago, but eventually the reader is let in on this secret as well. I particularly enjoyed the ending because we're left not knowing whether our heroine makes it out safely to her brother and lover. Thumbs up for a quick and easy read about the horrors of conservative Christianity taking over the government. ...more
So far this is my least favorite of Atwood's books. It is a collection of short stories; the stories have shared feminist themes like most of Atwood'sSo far this is my least favorite of Atwood's books. It is a collection of short stories; the stories have shared feminist themes like most of Atwood's work. I do have three favorites despite it not being my favorite of her works: "The Man from Mars," "When It Happens," and "The Grave of the Famous Poet."
"The Man from Mars" is an interesting tale about a woman being stalked by another student. There is an awesome twist at the end of the story when the woman narrator inquires about what happened to her stalker after he was sent out of town. Turns out he was deported later after stalking another woman...the man stalked women indiscriminately. The woman narrator is hurt by this information, because it means she isn't special after all.
"When It Happens" is about an older couple told through the point of view of the wife. She is worried about things changing: war, technology, the children. She spends a great deal of time watching thing change around her.
"The Grave of the Famous Poet" has to be my favorite of the stories. It is about a young couple, and their relationship is ending. There is a specific quote which just had me, "We love each other, that's true whatever it means, but we aren't good at it; for some it's talent, for others only addiction."...more
Absolutely amazing and equally horrifying. The Handmaids Tale makes you put it down and remind yourself it is just fiction. A co-worker asked me whatAbsolutely amazing and equally horrifying. The Handmaids Tale makes you put it down and remind yourself it is just fiction. A co-worker asked me what I was reading apparently I looked intense, "The stripping away of women's rights layer by layer until there is nothing left."
The truly disturbing aspect of this book is the last chapter the historical essay written on it. Chilling as you read fake essay; the purpose to make it all the more believable.
Now, I'm not an alarmist. I don't believe the conservative right are going to take my rights away in a day, which is the narrator's perspective in the novel. However, that it debatable because Moria seemed to be aware of the impending future. This book becomes all the more relevant as we see states banning gay marriage and restricting abortion.
The book...women and men are classified; they have different jobs. Men are commanders (heads of households/important government officials), guardians (protectors), angels (soldiers), and eyes (spies). Women are wives (do I need to explain?), marthas (domestics), and handmaids (baby machines). There are of course people who live outside these classifications as well, but really they have a smaller role. The wives and the handmaids hate their lives, and I believe so do the marthas. Suicide rates feel kind of high in the novel. Oh, and of course "unwomen" who can't produce children within three chances; they are sent to the colonies, and no one wants to go there.
The scary thing about this novel is the explanation of how easily this could happen. The government takes your bank account and gives it to a male relative and then women are forbidden to work outside the home. Our narrator points out that immediately her husband likes the new arrangement. She says that she belongs to him instead of them belong to each other. There are moments when our narrator mocks her mother for the old feminist ideals; they aren't needed.
The shining light? Mayday. Mayday is the signal of the revolution. Because in societies like this there is always a revolution. Our narrator's guardian lover tells her "Mayday," and we are expected to believe that she gets out and he wasn't an eye.
I give it a 5/5 and then some if I could. I feel like everyone should read this novel....more
Loving Frank was interesting read; at first I wasn't impressed by the novel. It did grow on my once I became dealt with my disgust with historical ficLoving Frank was interesting read; at first I wasn't impressed by the novel. It did grow on my once I became dealt with my disgust with historical fiction. Mamah Cheney fell in love with Frank Lloyd Wright; they abandon their families and run off together; scandal ensues. This is all true. I began enjoying the book when Mamah's character was developed more as a feminist. Horan explored Mamah' history and discovered her feminist ties. By building on these the story became more interesting for me. I dislike this kind of historical fiction. I can't help it. One specific reason: writers can do whatever they like with their characters, but with people you can't decide why real people decide o do. Historical fiction uses real facts and then fills in the blanks, and I wonder about the real people and if they are being accurately portrayed. It was a cute coming into one's own story, but I wasn't a big fan and feel the press it received may not have been wholly deserved....more
Of course Sophie's Choice was incredible; it was written by William Styron. It is a novel that compels you to read it and become empathetic to the chaOf course Sophie's Choice was incredible; it was written by William Styron. It is a novel that compels you to read it and become empathetic to the characters. It is a haunting story about one man's attempt to come of age (which in almost always compelling) and juxtaposition of that young man's reality with the realities of the people who influence him.
I specify those who influence him, because Stingo (our narrative) develops an relationship with two of his neighbors, Sophie and Nathan, and they exert a great deal of influence over him, but so do tragic historical figures such as revolutionary leaders and a specific ill treated salve boy.
Stingo contrasts the Holocaust with American slavery repeatedly throughout the novel. Sophie, a Polish victim of the Holocaust, becomes the object of Stingo's love and lust. Nathan, a Jewish man involved with Sophie, becomes a surrogate brother figure for Stingo. Stingo and Nathan argue at length about the persecution of the Jews and slaves; Stingo often resents the blame for slavery being placed entirely on the South, and doubts Nathan's depiction of the Jews as being history's victims (this doesn't mean he doubts the tragedies suffered by the Jewish people).
Then there is Stingo's fixation on sex. It is an underlying theme throughout the novel. He makes several attempts to rid himself of his virginity and fails twice. He eventually have sex with Sophie prompting her to go back to Nathan. Stingo's sexuality is everywhere; he is driven to lose his virginity and then later fears he is a homosexual. Then there is Nathan's schizophrenia which is a force in the novel progressing the plot and driving Sophie and Stingo together.
The last thing I wanted to mention is Faulkner. Stingo (and dare I say Styron) love Faulkner. The text can be dense and difficult at times because of it emulation of Faulkner. Styron tells the read that Stingo loves Faulkner and is attempting to write like him, and as a result we struggle through what at times is a poor imitation. ...more
This was a good story right through, and I had planned on giving it a 3 out 5, but then I read the last four pages...and it completely changed my mindThis was a good story right through, and I had planned on giving it a 3 out 5, but then I read the last four pages...and it completely changed my mind! This novel appealed to my romantic sensibilities and then finally my cynical self. I also have a rather romanticized notion about World War II, blame it on my grandparents, and the World Wars forcing the world into the modern era.
My inner creative writer salutes McEwan's ability to tell an interesting story, and then transform that story into something much more. I have been discussing this novel with co-workers for a few days, and I have notice the reason I love it seems to be the reason they disliked it. Granted, their interpretations come from the film, and not the novel. Sometimes I prefer my literature depressing because art imitates life.
I feel for the characters...hazard of the trade becoming too involved with the characters. McEwan did his readers a service by allowing us into Briony's head lest we only have the interpretations the adults. I'm not going to lie at first I had trouble understanding her motivation, but as the novel progressed, and she developed a new sense of understanding came flooding in. Briony is by far the most complex character in the novel evolving through the conflict. In the end understand her motives and transformation, and most importantly feel her guilt....more