Friday, 26 August 2016

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

Vintage were kind enough to send me the gorgeous new Vintage Children’s Classics edition of The Handmaid’s Tale and I was over the moon. It’s ridiculous that I've made it to 24 without finishing a Margaret Atwood novel. No longer.

I had some thoughts.
  • I actually read the first third or so of The Handmaid’s Tale at university when I grabbed it out of the library on a whim during third year. Sadly, I never managed to finish it – darn exams.
  • I clearly remembered the start of Offred’s story and how intrigued I was. And I stayed intrigued. Atwood doesn’t give a whole lot away at first – details are drip fed throughout the novel. I love that sense of putting a puzzle together. 
  • The mystery and sense of impending doom was wonderfully atmospheric.
  • There did feel like there was a little something missing for me, though. I was expecting to be thoroughly blown away, and while I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, I wouldn’t say it lived up to the ridiculous levels of hype.
  • The ending was where it fell down, I think. Though I appreciate the cleverness and originality of it, I was infuriated. SPOILER WARNING: I read 500 pages only to not actually find out what happened to Offred – I mean, really? It made me really quite annoyed and pushed the novel down in my estimations sadly, even though it fit with the format and what we found out about the story. SPOILER OVER.
  • If I had read this with no prior knowledge of how beloved and acclaimed it is, I think I could very easily have fallen head over heels in love with it. Until the ending, that is.
  • It is truly terrifying how plausible Offred’s world feels. Chilling and clever.

Though I didn't fall for The Handmaid's Tale completely, I really am looking forward to digging more into her backlist. I already have Alias Grace, Stone Mattress and The Heart Goes Last ready to go. 


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