This is definitely the type of book that lends itself to discussion; if you'd like to read a discussion of it, go here There are so many ideas in this...moreThis is definitely the type of book that lends itself to discussion; if you'd like to read a discussion of it, go here There are so many ideas in this short book to mull over, such as the loss of emotion leading to losing the ability to see color, which could lead to the idea that what you don't use, you lose. So, letting others think for you and make all the decisions leads more and more to a strong dependency on having others make all decisions. And I love it when an author leaves events open to the reader's interpretation, I think the ending is perfect, because the reader can decide what it means or what you want it to mean. But it also means that I definitely want to read the rest of the trilogy!
As with almost all dystopian novels, this shows how good intentions often go too far, and so many positive things are given up or lost in the search for utopia. (less)
A scary and rather realistic look at what our world could become after an EMP *electro-magnetic pulse* attack. It's all too easy to believe that peopl...moreA scary and rather realistic look at what our world could become after an EMP *electro-magnetic pulse* attack. It's all too easy to believe that people would behave/misbehave just as they do in this story.(less)
Written in 1986, The Handmaid's Tale is disturbing, frightening, and almost prophetic in its telling of the downward spiral that can be the consequenc...moreWritten in 1986, The Handmaid's Tale is disturbing, frightening, and almost prophetic in its telling of the downward spiral that can be the consequence to society when extremist views of any ilk are translated to violent action. This was a compelling read - I didn't want to find out what had created the world in which Offfred resided, but I was drawn into the telling and the horror of what fanaticism produces: never the intended freedoms that are so anticipated, but the dehumanization of members of society as the leaders attempt to create a new and better world. As the Commander said, when he was virtually acknowledging that they had created an unacceptable, unwanted world: "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. We thought we could do better." The assassination of a president is too sadly believable, but the planned, violent takeover of government by the machine-gunning of the entire Congress?This is still unbelievable to me, but isn't that what people of other countries felt before it happened to them?
Another quote: "Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations." But what happens when there are NO compensations, as was the case for the Handmaids, who were totally dehumanized. Is this when unrest leads to uprisings and rebellion and outbreaks of resistance?
There were many lovely tidbits of thought sprinkled throughout this Tale - but then, when you have nothing but time, as was the case in Offred's existence (have you noticed that I refrain from calling it her life? since no real living appears to be available to her), it must help to think of things beyond the routine of living. Some of my favorites: 'one and one and one and one doesn't equal 4 because each one remains unique' "Why is it that night falls, instead of rising like the dawn? You can see the darkness rising from the horizon... like a black cloud."
I was really touched by her prayer, as she's thinking her way through the Our Father... "I don't believe for an instant that what's going on out there is what you want" We need you to provide a heaven... Hell we can create for ourselves." "You must feel pretty ripped off. I guess it's not the first time."
And how said when life is so bland and bleak, so scripted and restricted, that thinking about having a fight over unimportant things (like whose turn it was to clean the toilet) can look so appealing. I did like the open unknown of the ending that allowed for a possible positive outcome. And the epilogue that I expected to be boring was anything but - it filled in some answers while still leaving some things open to my own interpretation.
I don't expect to grab another Atwood book immediately - I'll need a lot of positive reading to bring back the sunshine - but I'm not sorry I read this.(less)
I did not enjoy reading this, but once I started, I felt compelled to finish it. I think I knew that this would be my reaction, and that's why I delay...moreI did not enjoy reading this, but once I started, I felt compelled to finish it. I think I knew that this would be my reaction, and that's why I delayed reading it!
This is really what I envision as a post-apocalyptic world; not just (just?!) the devastation and almost-total annihilation, but the reversion of the human being into the human animal. I have some pictures in my mind now that I really don't want there, but I was glad for the one ray of hope that McCarthy included, and an ending that leaves the possibility of a new beginning.
This was not a strong 4* book for me, but 3* just wasn't enough to show how it impacted me. The starkness of the language emphasized the barren world the man and boy navigated, but the inconsistency of that method created some problems for me - I know that incomplete sentences are acceptable and can be useful. Pack a punch. Set things up. Stark and bleak. Cold as ice. But after that chopped language has set the scene, we have sentences full of 'vestibular calculations' and the 'great pendulum in its rotunda', and I'm spinning!
I personally thought the decision to use no punctuation other than periods was a great way to show the bleakness of life (contractions without apostrophes, conversation without quotation marks), but then when an apostrophe was used, it was used incorrectly - I know, I'm nit-picking here, and the first time I put it down to a typesetting error, but later it was written the same way, and it was jarring - why was it even there?! . OK, I'm done, but when I see 'Pulitzer winner', I expect a good story and a well-written story.(less)
In Hunger Games, after a failed rebellion, the government annihilated District 13, and forced the other districts to have teenagers participate in an...moreIn Hunger Games, after a failed rebellion, the government annihilated District 13, and forced the other districts to have teenagers participate in an annual only-one-can-live elimination. Katniss and Peeta both survived, however, because they portrayed themselves as young lovers who would rather die together (by eating poisonous berries) than have to decide which one will live and which will die. The president was less than pleased, so for the upcoming Quarter Games he has decided that the participants will be drawn from previous district winners, which guarantees that Katniss & Peeta will be right back in it.
There are some interesting twists in this one, which the readers figure out way before our heroes do, especially single-minded Katniss, who has decided that Peeta must be the one who survives, so she pretty much misses all the hints and clues. In her defense, she's got a lot on her mind.
Fortunately for my peace of mind, I knew the story would not end until book 3, but that was still quite a cliffhanger at the end!(less)
Czech freedom-fighters, rebelling against Hitler's takeover of their country, attempted to assassinate his #1 man in Czechoslovakia. In retaliation, H...moreCzech freedom-fighters, rebelling against Hitler's takeover of their country, attempted to assassinate his #1 man in Czechoslovakia. In retaliation, Hitler orders the elimination of a Czech village - men and teen boys are executed, women and girls are placed in concentration camps, and the town is burned, bulldozed, and wiped out of existence. The town was Lidice. All of this is factual - this book itself is fiction based on these facts, and follows the young Milada who is dragged into Hitler's 'Perfect Aryan Race' idea because she is blond and fits all the facial measurements dreamed up by the purists (this program also existed) I always thought they only focused on Germans who fit this concept of perfection, but the goal here was to 'Germanize' them and wipe out any memories of who they had been, so Milada became 'Someone Named Eva'
This is a heart-rending story of civilian victims of war, but also an uplifting story of the indomitability of the human spirit. I highly recommend this book!(less)