Quote of the Week

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I always knew dystopia was scary but...

This book was crazy!  I really don't know how Margaret Atwood imagined this one up, but it's certainly original.  Even though it was written about 20 years ago it still makes perfect sense today and actually still felt very modern.  The Handmaid's Tale is the story of a woman living in a world where everything has been changed.  She's one of the first generation in this society and therefore still knows how to read and write even though these things are forbidden for women.  In this world women are used specifically to replenish the earth.  Men are either in charge of a household of women dedicated to giving he and his wife a child or they are sent to the armed forces never to love a woman.  It's a society of duty.  Pleasure is essentially forbidden, but what happens when the people are smarter than government gives them credit for?

The story was not only original, but the writing was spectacular.  If the story doesn't draw you in the writing will.  Atwood writes the way the main character is really thinking and you, as the reader, can't help but picture everything she sees with brilliant clarity.  Disclaimer: Because this story is largely based on the fact that the main character is used only for her fertile organs, there are scenes that can be potentially disturbing to some readers.  They are not long, it's the exactness of the language that may be disturbing.

My advisor had a list of books to read for my writer's workshop class.  I had to choose one that was most like the style I read and write.  Because I work a lot with dystopia (the opposite of utopia, for those of you who don't know) this book was the one I wanted to read.  It really made me think a lot about the factors in an unstable society and it really made me think about my own writing.  I've found another author whose writing I can aspire to.

No comments: