Book Reviews · The Classics Club

The Handmaid’s Tale Review

38447Goodreads Summary: 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 pray 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…

My Thoughts: Wow. Just Wow.  I knew I would probably like this book with all the hype about the Hulu series, but it really blew me away.  It was different than I expected too.  I thought it would be a lot gorier.  While the whole concept is dark, the way Offred speaks with her matter of fact tone, and the way she relays the information in small, unorganized rambles, kept it feeling lighter but seemingly more sinister.  I absolutely loved the structure of the plot and timeline.  The small bits of information we got about the past, randomly interspersed with the current events, kept me turning the page.  I just had to know how the world got to be like it was.  I really appreciated the mundaneness of the story, as opposed to the epic fight we see in most dystopian novels.  It really made it feel real, and somehow more interesting.  I totally felt for Offred and the Handmaids, and while The Wives were so unlikable, as a woman, I felt for them too.  The whole society and way of life of The Republic of Gilead is disgusting, and yet makes for a very compelling story.  Reading about the situations these people were put in often made me sick to my stomach with my jaw on the floor.  It was appalling, and yet I could not stop reading.  I loved Moira and how her spirit helped Offred stay sane in her situation.  I was surprised that I actually liked the Commander.  I thought his behavior was a great juxtaposition to the villainy of men in Gilead, and made the reveal of who he most likely was and what he accomplished in his office, even more shocking.  The ending killed me.  I couldn’t believe that Atwood would leave us hanging like that, but it worked so well, and made me think back on everything I just read in a completely different light.  This book is absolutely brilliant, and I think it is a must read for everyone.

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Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Sense and Sensibility Review

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

14935Goodreads Summary: ‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

My Thoughts: I read Pride and Prejudice a few years ago, and I wasn’t the biggest fan.  Everyone loves Austen, so I have been wanting to give her another shot for a while now, and I am actually glad that I did.  I liked Sense and Sensibility a lot more than I expected to.  I was fully engaged in the plot, which surprised me.  Part of the reason I didn’t love Pride and Prejudice was because not enough happened.  They kept dancing around everything, and I needed more action.  This one had a bunch of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and I thought that the speed in which the events happened was well paced.  It still dealt with the manners and social graces of the time, but there was more to it.  There was also a ton of shade and passive aggressive drama that made me inwardly squeal.  I loved the characters too, especially Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.  I found my self getting frustrated with both of them for opposite reasons, which I enjoyed and kept me reading and wanting more for them.  I loved watching both of them deal with all of these ridiculous people, but my favorite was the battle between Lucy and Elinor for Edward’s heart.  It did take me a while to get used to Austen’s language, but once I got accustomed to it, it was easier to comprehend.  I did have to focus more than normal, so reading it backstage with a big load of distractions wasn’t easy, and it took longer to finish than it normally would.  That said, I really enjoyed it and now I can say that I get it, and I am an Austen fan.  I am excited to read more of her work.

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