Bookclub on Thursday went off without a hitch, well as long as you don’t consider finishing the book with 5 minutes to spare a hitch.
Between Wednesday after work and Thursday at 6:30 I somehow crammed in over 200 pages of reading. I will never do this again. Towards the end of the book, reading started to feel like a chore, like an obligation and not something fun that I have been loving since I was little.
Years ago my mom told me a funny story, one that I love and hold dear. It was my first day on kindergarten, she came to pick me up from school. On our walk home I was devastated, as only a 5-year old can be. I was crying and my mom was trying to figure out why. Turns out I was upset that I didn’t learn to read on my first day. This story still makes me smile. With older siblings, I guess I had the idea that school meant reading. Needless to say that I learned to read and have been reading and loving books every since.
As for the Handmaid’s Tale, I quite enjoyed it. The last 3 Margaret Atwood books I’ve read are Year of the Flood, Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood (I like it so much I read it twice). After reading her newer fiction, it was interesting to go back to an oldie and see how her writing has matured and evolved. Her newer writing is infused with a subtlety that I truly appreciate. In some facets I felt that The Handmaid’s Tale, while still a classic, was a bit belaboured.
Don’t take this mild criticism the wrong way, Margaret Atwood is still one of my favorite authors and I still really loved reading the Handmaid’s Tale. Throughout the book I couldn’t stop wondering why the main character chose to accept her new life and do nothing to remove herself from it? I understood that a decision of that magnitude could mean severe consequences (i.e. death or torture) but I’m not sure that I could have lived that way and accepted it. Like the main character I am 32, the difference being that I am allowed to have a job, earn a living, have a bank account, spend money as I choose, enjoy a relationship with who I choose and read whatever and whenever I want. I can’t imagine myself without these rights.
In case you are wondering how it was received at book club. 2 out of 5 really liked the book, 1 liked it and 2 didn’t really like it at all. But don’t let that stop you. If you haven’t read the Handmaid’s Tale, I strongly encourage you to do so.
ps. if you are looking for a good locale to host your next book club, I highly recommend going to a park and having a picnic.