I have a vague recollection of being handed this book to read as a child and loving it. But I don't think I got to finish it before having to give itI have a vague recollection of being handed this book to read as a child and loving it. But I don't think I got to finish it before having to give it back to its owner, because I had no memory of the oddly abrupt ending. Since I was reading on a Kindle, I had no idea the last page was actually the last page until suddenly there was nothing after it. It's true that, characteristically, Hodgson Burnett had tied up the last possible unhappiness into a pleasant ending, but it seems like it didn't end even talking about Sara and I wish there were at least a few more paragraphs added on.
Apart from that oddity, as an adult I again enjoyed the book a great deal. As always with Hodgson Burnett's books, the child protagonist is unnaturally good and well mannered, all unpleasantness is mitigated quickly, and you can see the happy, morally just ending coming a mile off. But sometimes all you need is a happy, morally just story, and this is a very fine one....more
General methods--good. Anthropomorphizing all your stuff, talking to it, making sure you don't hurt its feelings, and being sure not to leave it at thGeneral methods--good. Anthropomorphizing all your stuff, talking to it, making sure you don't hurt its feelings, and being sure not to leave it at the bottom of a pile because how would you feel if all this stuff was piled on top of you? No, thanks. I believe my home will become tidier for having read this book, but if my lack of communication has been hurting my things' feelings, I'm sorry to say that they will be dismayed by my lack of progress....more
Two stars seems generous, but I must leave open the possibility of books I hate even more, so I'll hedge and say 1.5.
1. This book is about 250 pages lTwo stars seems generous, but I must leave open the possibility of books I hate even more, so I'll hedge and say 1.5.
1. This book is about 250 pages longer than it ought to be if Eggers wanted to make his points more subtly and powerfully.
2. Dystopias get their power from their believability: "there, but for the grace of God, go I." In this case, the story rests on the premise of everybody everywhere losing all common sense and self-awareness because it seems like fun.
A terrifying dystopia second only to 1984 in the level of horror and control its author imagines. It is also the only dystopia I know of tha4.5 stars.
A terrifying dystopia second only to 1984 in the level of horror and control its author imagines. It is also the only dystopia I know of that focuses primarily on a woman's perspective (yes, the Hunger Games trilogy is told by Katniss, but for all her feminine awesomeness, that narrative does not focus at all on telling women's stories). That, sadly, is part of what makes this such a unique and poignant story, though I believe it would remain a standout novel even if there were boatloads of feminist dystopias out there.
I listened to an audiobook, which I always consider a trade off, and may be sorry for in the end. It was well narrated by Joanna David, who added insightful nuance with her style, but I feel like I'm less likely to notice details, and I can't easily go back to search for earlier bits that I think might illuminate a present description. Tulips, for instance. They seem to always be a metaphor for people, or at least physical aspects of people--I probably could be more specific or detailed had I been reading the physical book myself and been able to linger over those passages. And there is something too about the feeling of being flat, sheetlike, that Offred mentions repeatedly.
I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. Part of what makes 1984 so terrifying and poignant is the sense that Big Brother will be eternal, that the entire world is stuck within it, or some local version of it on the other continents, and neither geography nor time could offer any relief. The epilogue-like ending Atwood attaches here makes it very clear that both geography and time produced an escape from Gilead, if not for our story's heroine, then at least for those who followed her. That changes the message significantly, from 1984's "Don't let this happen or there will be no escape!" to a more optimistic "resistance is always possible and will win in the end--keep fighting!" I suppose in our ever-changing real life, Atwood's command is the more important one....more