I was bitterly disappointed by this book. I bought it after reading really good reviews in a newspaper and a magazine but after reading it I don't bel...moreI was bitterly disappointed by this book. I bought it after reading really good reviews in a newspaper and a magazine but after reading it I don't believe they read it all and just read the blurb on the back, thought it was interesting and gave it the thumbs up.
The book starts off well but then it descends into drivel and though this book is supposed to be about Dracula I would not categorise it as horror. There was little suspense or anything to keep this interesting. The characters were dull, there was a lot of scenery description which quickly became boring and the pace was slow. At one stage I got so fed up that I skipped 20 pages but at no point did I feel the need to go back and read them because I didn't miss anything. The ending was a real let down and felt as if the author couldn't be bothered to come up with something better. (less)
It's been a few years since I read this so forgive me if I get something wrong. As a woman I found this terrifying because of the possibility that thi...moreIt's been a few years since I read this so forgive me if I get something wrong. As a woman I found this terrifying because of the possibility that this could happen. I live in an all-female household in the UK, we're independent, I could never see myself ever being able to rely on a man for everything I need. We've fought for the rights to work, spend our own money and enjoy the same freedoms as men.
Offred, stripped of her husband who may have been murdered and separated from her daughter, watching her being raised by strangers was horrible. When she is forced to have sex with the Commander I wondered why she had to, couldn't they do the turkey baster thing instead? Or was this just another way to degrade women and for the men to get their jollies - even if the wives had to be present? If they got pregnant, having your baby taken away from you is even more dehumanising. To be treated as an object and one that is not particularly valued is awful.
But then even the men were emasculated, like Nick, he had very little power and if you stepped out of line your head would end up on a pike on the fences. The Commander himself was a coward, despite his greater freedom he didn't seem to like how things were and taking her out to that secret club was for his benefit not hers - he wanted to alleviate his guilt by trying to keep this handmaid from suicide. His wife didn't approve either, who wants to watch their husband have sex with another woman and have their reproductive rights taken away from them? Though I know fertility problems amongst the people were one of the main issues here.
I think in a post-9/11 world this book is even more terrifying. There seem to be many more extremists (religious and otherwise), gender inequalities in other cultures have been highlighted as have corrupt governments and dictators who run societies where violence and persecution are apart of everyday life. So if this sort of society exists elsewhere, it could happen here too.
When I read this as a teenager this book did more to scare me than any blood and guts horror book ever could. An incredibly disturbing and shocking read.(less)
I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too depressing.
It was fairly good until I got to the bit where Bella was brushing Jacob aside to go and rescue E...moreI couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too depressing.
It was fairly good until I got to the bit where Bella was brushing Jacob aside to go and rescue Edward. At this point I had to take a peek at the ending. I was appalled and couldn't continue reading it. Edward is flat and unlovable in this. Jacob was warm and full of life, I fell in love with him but evidently he was too good for Bella if she couldn't see what she had with him and dumped him for cold hard Edward.
I'm bitterly disappointed. I bought Eclipse at the same time as New Moon but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it now. I don't understand the hype anymore. I will not be watching the movie.(less)
Won this book on First Reads and just started reading it.
Edit: My mother caught me reading this (she was intrigued by the black people on the cover -...moreWon this book on First Reads and just started reading it.
Edit: My mother caught me reading this (she was intrigued by the black people on the cover - she's Bajan) and asked to borrow it, now I'm wondering whether I'm going to get it back so I can finish it.
Edit #2: Okay so I got this back a few days and I started reading it again from the beginning. I didn't get very far and have decided to put it down indefinitely. Despite loving the sense of humour, I was pretty disappointed that the main character never makes it to the UK. I live here and was looking forward to a foreigner's perception of my home country. Also I was a little unsure of the realism of walking off with a stranger to a strange place without anyone knowing where you are, I wondered why she didn't act on her "he could be a serial killer" thoughts. Plus, if I had spent what would have been a lot of money and was going to be taking my first trip abroad I wouldn't be wasting that kind of opportunity for an unknown man. If she had made it to the UK and then abandoned the tour for the seemingly interesting stranger I might have felt differently. But what really made me stop reading were the over-the-top cringe-worthy thoughts and antics, I found it too painful to continue.
There is potential here especially with the incredible sense of humour but the thoughts, actions and behaviour of the characters need to be toned down and made more rational for it to appeal to a wider audience.(less)
Read this as a teenager. I remember being shocked that the main character managed to lead two lives. I hated that he cheated on his wife and his gener...moreRead this as a teenager. I remember being shocked that the main character managed to lead two lives. I hated that he cheated on his wife and his general attitude but there were some funny lines.(less)
Waterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly d...moreWaterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly disturbing. I was reminded of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures and the Stanford prison experiment, both very famous psychological studies about the pressures of conforming to a specific role, whether dominant or submissive and highlights the extraordinary strength it takes to break away from it. If the mother of that baby refused to obey by not drowning her baby in ice-filled water, the consequences could’ve been dire.
In the minds of those living in the compound there's this life and nothing else. They refuse to believe that life outside could be any better than the life they’re living now, even when that means torturing and killing your own children or handing them over to paedophiles and rapists. Frustrating, but then they've been indoctrinated from birth, raised not to question the order of things and are told to believe everything is "God's Will".
Very few are strong enough to refuse to continue with the farce that rewards a handful of old lecherous men and condemns everyone else, especially the young and defenceless. If you rebel, you'll be lucky to receive a quick death, if you’re really lucky you get married off to a nice man with only a couple of wives, and if the universe is smiling down on you and the planets are in alignment you might escape with your life and live to breathe another day only to look over your shoulder for the rest of your days.
I’ve noticed that in some of the negative reviews of this book people expected or wanted a realistic depiction of polygamy and that’s not what this is about. The Chosen One reflects the sensational, the newscaster’s dream: the paedophile cultists e.g. Warren Jeffs, sociopathic religious extremists who warp the media’s perception of this way of life so people wrongly come to automatically associate the word “paedophile” with “polygamy”.
Polygamy is not inextricably linked with religion and paedophilia, it is simply, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time." That is all.
If you want a more modern and realistic view of polygamy then this isn’t for you, watch HBO's “Big Love” instead.
Despite this, the book does bring up some important positive and negative points concerning polygamy, for example, more caregivers to bring up the children, sharing a husband can lead to tension and jealousy, etc.
Also, the choice of not using any form of contraception lead to Kyra's 3 mothers having had 19 children, meaning that each child has less one-to-one time with a caregiver and everyone having little-to-no alone time, with the older children forced to act as parents themselves. (On a personal note, I find having so many children incredibly selfish and irresponsible in this day and age where infant mortality is now quite low.) Add to this the overcrowding as each mother has one small, decrepit trailer to house their growing number of offspring. Unless of course their husband happens to be an elevated elder or an Apostle or the Prophet, in which case they'll have a luxurious mansion.
I did, however, wonder how everyone’s fed, clothed and sheltered. Where did the money come from? Who was footing the bill for the land devoid of condoms, and therefore an ever increasing population? They do keep costs down by leading rustic and prudish lifestyles with few mod-cons by making their own clothes, growing their own food, etc. but that only goes so far, at some point you've got to spend some money. For example, the trip to town to buy fabric and afterwards having lunch in a restaurant.
This book covers a number of distasteful topics which some readers may want to avoid:
Forced marriage, Paedophilia and Rape, of unwilling wives. (Forced marriage is illegal in the UK whether the marriage is to take place here or abroad, the law protects the victim no matter their age.)
Blackmail, of those who disobey or their relatives. Husbands can be forced to leave the compound and have their wives and children given to other men who are encouraged to treat them like shit.
Beatings, as a means of control and punishment.
Murder, of runaways, those that attempt to rescue anyone on the compound, those who disobey, and of disabled babies -very Spartan of them.
Incest, not a routine part of the compound. It seems it's more to satisfy Kyra's 60 year old uncle's lust for her 13-year-old body.
One of my favourite parts of this book was Joshua's admission to wanting Kyra and only Kyra for his wife. How romantic is that? Aww.
My rating is 3.5 stars because although we were given a look into what life might be like for those oppressed and used in the cults that make the headlines the writing wasn't as emotive as I would expect it to be apart for the baby torture. This book had the potential to bring me to tears but it didn't quite do it even with the desperate way it ended.(less)
Beautiful. Evil, but beautiful. Evil because I now have Stockholm Syndrome. Beautiful because I didn't realise it was happening, the writing was so su...moreBeautiful. Evil, but beautiful. Evil because I now have Stockholm Syndrome. Beautiful because I didn't realise it was happening, the writing was so subtle yet engrossing and real. Gritty.
I fell in love with Ty, the kidnapper. He was so kind, considerate and almost harmless really (Hello, Stockholm!). He'd saved Gemma's life so many times and eventually sacrificed his freedom for her. How can anyone not love him a little for that?
I understood his motivations. He was lonely and had been badly treated all his life. At first I had all kinds of ideas of what he was: paedophile, rapist, killer etc. He was none of those things. He just wanted to escape civilisation and when he spotted Gemma, who he believed was being neglected by her parents just as he was, he wanted to rescue her.
I can't understand why people compare this to Living Dead Girl. Ray, the kidnapper is all of the things I mentioned above. He was not kind, he raped, he's a paedophile and he murdered. I did not fall in love with him. It's not a fair comparison. They're completely different.
Although at times Ty seemed scary, he was vulnerable and fragile too. He cried. He suffered from nightmares. In some ways he's like a child himself, with his love of the land, his painting and his folk stories. His sense of fun can be a little strange but there are some funny moments. It's not all fear and confusion. Catching the camel was hilarious. She (the camel) had my heart from then on.
As you can tell I loved Ty but I also cared about Gemma. At first I just wanted her to accept her situation, to stop looking for trouble. The number of times she said "You're lying!" or "I don't believe you!" got on my nerves because she said it in relation to the simplest of plausible statements but when she calmed down she was so starkly honest with herself even when she wanted to go into denial. She was strong. Both characters were to have survived their traumas.
You may think I'm as loopy as Ty but I wished for a happy ending. Gemma and Ty together. Maybe not out in the desert forever but living on the edge of a small town. Happily ever after. I can dream, right?
Stolen. Everything in this book is stolen, including Ty. Nothing belongs to anyone. Not even themselves. There's only the land and the sky. And survival. Beautiful.(less)