So, I recently read and reviewed a book. A rather popular book. Aaaand…I didn’t like it. I simply cannot understand why there is so much hype about it, but I strive to do my dead level best to be kind and constructive when leaving reviews, especially when they’re negative. I also usually try to kind of HIDE these reviews, rather than publicize them. But, this time, I have decided to blare it out to the world. Not because I’m proud of having a different opinion than the majority, but to show that it’s okay to not think the exact same as everyone else. To show that you DON’T have to like every single thing you read, watch. You DON’T have to follow the trends to be accepted, you just need to do you!
I do admit that I kept rewriting this review, making sure that I hadn’t accidentally worded something in a way that could come off as cruel or just mean, and I put a lot more thought into it than I normally do, if I’m being honest. With no further ado, here’s the book and my review of it.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
Okay, I do NOT like leaving negative reviews, but, here we are. And I feel awful about it! I know that this is a well-loved book, I know that it’s popular. But I am just not in that group. I was bored, to be bluntly honest. The plot to the book itself is truly interesting, and as a woman I think it should be labeled as horror lol. The characters are interesting -well, some of them, anyway. But it was just so extraneous, just so MUCH that my mind drift away from what I was supposed to be listening to. It shouldn’t have been so, but that’s honestly how I felt about it.
I feel like it could have been much shorter and still told the story in a much more captivating way, but I have to say that I did enjoy the bit at the end, when they’re discussing the discovery of the tapes and talking about the past. I felt unfulfilled with the ending, but that did help. While I would like to know exactly WHAT happened to Offred and her daughter, Nick, Myra, and a few others, the historical facts at the end helped to tie up exactly WHY we couldn’t know. Maybe there will be a sequel where they discover another box of tapes, or a journal, or tapes of someone who knew her after? Please?
My rating of the book itself is somewhere in the vastness of space between 2.5 and 3 Platypires.
The narration. Oh, man. This did not help the boredom. While the narrator’s voice is pleasant, I just couldn’t feel much emotion at all. I get that Offred had lost some emotion, but by the time she was able to leave her account, you’d think that she would be at least a little more fired up, or have some kind of emotions, right? The narrator just…didn’t. The pace was slow enough that I had to speed the audio up just to keep semi-interested. Just, not for me, I suppose. I mean absolutely no disrespect to either her or the author, I’m sure there are plenty of others who absolutely loved it.
My rating for the narration is a 2.
Overall, if you want something that’s not too overwhelming, that is slow paced but still interesting, and you want to hear of a truly horrifying future for women, then you would probably enjoy this book.
This review is cross-posted on Amazon, Goodreads, Audible, and Platypire Reviews