Tag Archives: Margaret Atwood

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

“Hunger Games”, “Divergent”, “The Maze Runner” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”. What do they all have in common? They all tell the story of dystopian societies. You know what else? This genre is very popular today (stating the obvious). Atwood’s novel however was written way back in the year of 1985.

Let’s go off subject for a second. What was the world like during that year?? Microsoft released the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, Compact Discs were introduced to Americans (you know, the form of music that used to be sold at music stores which are becoming obsolete like video stores), gas was $1.09 average a gallon, that was the last year the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl, my brother and I were sporting the Jim McMahon ‘do, and we were living in Hawaii. Oh, I miss you tropical paradise.

http://www.si.com/longform/monsters/index.html
Super bowl shuffle

June 25, 2195, “The Handmaid’s Tale” describes a dystopian society that centers around surrogates that preform the childbearing duties of the barren wives for the leaders of the new government of “The Republic of Gilead.” With the previous corrupt government overthrown, the new regime attempts to right the wrongs by reverting back to a biblical based system. Jobs, bank accounts, and any possessions are taken away from most women and they are forced to lead submissive roles to men. The misdeeds of the men and women before and after the formation of the new government, were written on a sign that dangles over the necks of the hanged perpetrators who are perched on “The Wall” for all to see. One of the misdeeds includes “gender treachery”. I’ll let you figure that out for yourself.

The story follows a handmaid by the name of Offred who was given to a Commander as his future childbearing surrogate. We read her story of what happens when she was seized by the new government and her new life is like within the confines of this dysfunctional society.

This book was ahead of its time. The central figure of a woman who isn’t interested in playing along with the new dystopian society goes quite well with the novels I’ve mentioned in the first paragraph. Along with being on my list of 1001 books, it was included as Good Reads, “50 books that will change your life.” I for one enjoyed reading it but not to the extent that I would include it on my top fifty as of yet.

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1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Two days ago while feeding my daughter her lunch my wife with a little giddy-up in her step lunges for the front door with her keen sense of knowing when our mail is delivered. I have a keen sense when watching Jeopardy that right after a contestant chooses a topic and Double Jeopardy pops up I eerily knew it would. Creepy!!

So, my wife with her mail in hand drops off a package delivery to me. I can’t wait to open it but I must finish feeding my daughter first. Every part of my being desires to rip it open right now. The box looks sturdy so I may need a knife or a…and here comes my lady already prepared bringing the scissors. I’m still in the act of feeding as I watch her slice open the box with such precision like a surgeon cutting into a patient. As I stare at her hands lifting out this massive book I am sure the spoon I’m wielding is dripping food on the top of the high chair. The title on the front of the book says “1001 Books You Must  Read Before You Die.”

She comments that it’s a lot bigger than she thought it would be. The perfect opportunity to respond, “That’s what she said” but my stomach is churning with excitement (I know I sound lame) waiting in anticipation to sift through the pages novels I will one day read.

In the evening while laying on my stomach hands, elbows and pillow propping me up I skim through the novels I’ve recently read to see what literary professors had to say about them. See if I missed something. In fact there was a lot I was missing. No “Watchmen”, no “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, no “Saturday”. Well, if you’ve read my blog you would find I wasn’t too crazy about “Saturday” anyway. I was flabbergasted.

I originally chose the books from the online list of the aforementioned title. Investigating further I found out that the new book I received is a revised version (which I was aware of) and according to Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. the version I have in my possession contains 250 changes of the 1001 novel titles. What!! “The List” I was working from is a 2006 version. Let’s see I have read (drum roll) 54 novels, blogged about 27 of them. Of the 27 novels 8 have been removed from the list.

The day I am nearing the end of completing this massive task there will be many more revisions. Maybe one day the books like the Hunger Games trilogy and the Harry Potter’s will be added and my goal will be even closer.

I will now pay tribute to the novels I have blogged about that have fallen down the out-of-order elevator shaft to enter the world of “Well, it’s okay if you die before you read it” list.

1. “Saturday” by Ian McEwan (don’t worry you have a few left on the list)

2. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (every time I see your title I will cringe at the idea of having my organs ripped out)

3.  “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon (you’ll always have Broadway)

4. “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters (I was glad that you were in audiobook form)

5. “Youth” by J.M. Coetzee (I am glad I read it before it was taken off the list)

6. “Choke” by Chuck Palaniuk (Palaniuk has no other books on the list but I know every time I ride a plane I will remember how someone could be naked in the bathroom with the door unlocked waiting for an innocent bystander to stumble upon them in hopes of contributing to the mile high club)

Question to my readers. I can’t even imagine joining the mile high club in such small confinements as the planes’ bathroom. Who has joined the club and what creative ways did they accomplish this task?

7. “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden (I still will recommend you to others)

8. “The Robber Bride” by Margaret Atwood (after reading “The Blind Assassin” also no longer on “The List” thank God, this book restored my hope in Atwood’s other books on the list.)