I am still going strong on my New Year’s resolution to read at least 10 books in 2017. I have a feeling that I may exceed my goal a lot sooner than I was expecting. Since the beginning of the year I have finished four books. I have already done a book review for The Girl On The Train. Since then I have read The Unwanted Child by V. C. Andrews, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Pity Over Pride by Kailyn Lowery. I guess you can figure out which book I am reviewing today by the title of this post.
I will admit that one of the reasons I ordered this book was because I found out Hulu was turning this book into a television show. I have heard about this book a lot lately. It’s been on quite a few recommended reading lists. Although I had heard about this book often, I really didn’t know what it was about. I ordered the book without even reading the description. I had decided I was going to read no matter what because I love comparing the books to their movies or television shows. When the book finally came in (gotta love how long it takes to get books out here. I miss being able to go into a book store and browsing the shelves to find a good book.) I finally read the back of the book.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and prat that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
I struggled for about two weeks with this book. At one point I gave up on it for a couple of days. The first 2/3 of this book is very dry and dull. The dullness is interrupted with random depth descriptions of random things like a tulip. These descriptions would take up half a page and have nothing to do with the story at all (stuff like this is why I can’t read Stephen King books). There were also random flash backs to memories from before Offred became a Handmaid. I would become confused when she would suddenly go from kneeling on the sitting room floor to talking about running through the woods with her daughter and then she is back to kneeling on the sitting room floor. I would end up back tracking a few pages thinking I missed something but still be confused when I got caught back up.
When I took the break for a few days I posted in a Facebook group about my struggles with reading this book. I was instantly overwhelmed with hundreds of comments of how this is such great book, that it was a frightening book to read right now because of Trump, and that so many of the members of the group were proud of me from embracing my inner feminist and choosing such a feminist book to read. I don’t consider myself a feminist at all. I am don’t agree with a lot of the things modern feminists scream at protests. I don’t even agree with the protests that have been happening. I don’t want to get into my political beliefs or feminism debate right now but reading all these comments made me sit back think about why did I choose this book and why I hadn’t picked up on this feminist stuff earlier.
After giving myself a break I decided I was going to finish this book once and for all. A few pages later everything started to make sense. The flash backs became more constant and started to explain how the United States ended up in this situation. Then I came across a chilling passage.
At this point I flipped to the front of the book to see when this was written. 1985. Over 30 years ago and it described something that could very well happen now a days. If anything like that happened, the first thing that people would blame would be Islamic fanatics. I don’t remember much about the 80’s (I was 2 when this was written) so I don’t know if there were attacks similar to what has been happening lately.
From this point in the book I couldn’t put the book down because it seemed like something that could happen. I was understanding why Offred was going along with what was happening. It was a survival thing she was doing. Some people fight and some people don’t know how so they self preserve themselves the best way they know how. Until I am placed in a situation like Offred I don’t know if I could be like her or fight against what was going on.
At this point I was hooked on this book. I wanted to see what would happen next. Then all of the sudden the book ended. It just halted. There was no ending. No happily ever after or even an unhappily ever after. Offred just walks down the stairs and then…. nothing. I have never been more pissed off at a book before. I threw the damn thing across the room. I invested all that time and energy into the book to have it just stop? What? I hate books like that. Give me an ending. I don’t care if it is an ending that is complete rubbish (I’m looking at you Suzanne Collins. I’m still mad about Prim) but give me an ending. Any kind of ending.
Now that I am done ranting I want to remind you to go check out the contest I’m hosting on my Facebook page. We have some great prizes including a $100 gift card to Airbnb.