{Guest Post} Review | The Handmaid’s Tale

38447The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | Published: 1985 by McClelland and Stewart | Rating: 4.5/5 | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Classic Literature

 

 

A dystopian novel that is set in the “near future” in what was formerly the United States. Government has been overthrown by a Christian theocracy aka a theocratic military dictatorship and women have lost ALL rights… which is putting that very lightly… And honestly not all of the men have many rights either as they are also held to, though much more loosely or with more rights overall, the moral dictates of the Giliad regime.

Told through the 1st person accounts of whom we know as “Offred,” which is quite literally of-Fred, and her flashbacks to her life before the overthrow of the government as well as her time spent during the indoctrination period in which she, and other “handmaids,” are spoon fed all the information needed to become docile, unquestioning, unthinking handmaids. Their duty to provide a child to their “commander” and his wife during a sex ritual, which the wife is present for… Um so yeah, yay public sex acts in a very closed minded Christian society…

The book, which was written in 1985, eerily sounds like the Christian Radical movements of current times as they push for more and more “Christian” and “moral” precedence, as they see it. Placing blame on one religion, Islam, for their problems and then forcing their Christian beliefs down everyone’s throats for their own benefit. For myself reading the novel I could very easily imagine the fanatics of today taking their beliefs and pushing us into some semblance of the society written about in this book… So needless to say it was freaking horrifying for me as a female and a liberal who thoroughly believes in every person’s right to their own person, human rights and the like!!!

Overall it was a very good, if not somewhat disturbing, read at how things could be when taken over by a group of religious zealots. I would recommend this book and especially for a group or class where open discussion can happen. There is a lot there to discuss and dissect. It would be a really deep one to get into and I, myself, would thoroughly enjoy the discussions possible there.

The book ends with an epilogue of sorts which is actually a class discussion in the year 2195. We can glean that the Giliad society is no longer governing and the history is being discussed much like we would hear in a college class today about ancient history. The professors and the students alike lightly mock the society, in that educated sort of way, as who could fathom such archaic ideas of thinking.  I could easily see this as a current history class in which we would similarly look so lightly on things such as feet binding; how backwards and unthinkable, but all the same it did happen and exist for those people who found it very real.

The book brought up some interesting thoughts for myself, personally, and I hope this book will do the same for you. At least get the wheels turning anyway! Read the book, because I said so!

Kisses until next time,

(Gotta try to end this on a light note alright)

Celia

 

 

Review | Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

9780316176484_custom-471ca800e5fe1258f2d4059059b24d8c1d95a7ba-s6-c30Life After Life by Kate Atkinson | Released March 14, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction | Amazon | Goodreads

 

Life After Life is the third book I’ve read this year. (I’m slowly catching up with my reviews. Please await with baited breath!) It is also somewhat of a genre departure for me, as I tend to read mostly detective, murder/mystery, suspense/thriller novels. Life After Life, however is more of a historical fiction with some elements of Science Fiction in it.
Allow me to explain…

Spanning between 1910 and 1967, Life After Life tells the story of Ursula Todd. Ursula was born and then dies before drawing her first breath. Ursula Todd is born again. Throughout her life, Ursula will die numerous times. Each time, she’ll live again, going back to the catalyst to try another path until she gets it right.

I ‘read’ this novel via audio book, which may be part of the reason I had a hard time with it. The book was a slow start, before getting somewhat interesting (albeit somewhat confusing as well) towards the middle before falling flat once again. There wasn’t really much of a climax in the sense that there really wasn’t a edge-of-your-seat moment(s) in the book.

I confess, I only finished this book out of necessity – because when I don’t finish books, they tend to stick around in my brain, continually surging to the front, making me wonder how they end, even if I am not completely in love with the story. I need to know what the payoff is. I’m not entirely sure what that was supposed to be for this book. I suppose, I might have appreciated this book more if this were the type of book I read more often or I thoroughly enjoyed intense introspection after reading. I don’t.

As I said before, I generally read thriller/suspense novels which usually come with a heart-racing, edge-of-your-seat climax. This book had none of that.

Life After Life did give me pause for some slight existential philosophizing, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you may enjoy it. Overall, I wasn’t blown away or caught up in rapture with this book (which is how I prefer my books FYI). I didn’t find myself giving the actual story too much thought after finishing it, which to me, is not a good sign. And while I appreciated the writing style, the plot in itself just wasn’t enough to mesmerize me. 2.5/5.

{Guest Post} Review | Magnolia by Duncan W. Alderson

18167462Magnolia City by Duncan W. Alderson | Released March 25, 2014 | Rating: 3 3/4/ 5 | Genre: Historical Fiction | Amazon | Goodreads

Alrighty folks, I’ve never written for a blog post… and for that matter I’ve never written a book review either. Except for, ya know, those mandatory book reviews in school which I just bullshitted my way through because I could never be bothered much with school work because that’s like super lame and boring (insert sullen teenager scoff please). So I guess bear with me and know that I’m just giving my opinion and it in no way means you need to get all butt hurt about it if we don’t agree after you read the book for yourself (because you are definitely supposed to read the book after reading my review!!) **And disclaimer, I’ll probably never be good at not giving away any spoilers so you’ve been warned! But I’ll try in earnest to keep my big trap shut mmmk?

***This is just my general disclaimer here, and I believe I’ve kept some of my bigger opinions in life to myself here in this post. This book wasn’t so polarizing but be for sure that there will be polarizing books in my future and I will open my mouth and state my given opinion and we don’t all have to agree! So we’ll all be adults at that time and bring our big kid pants to the yard so we don’t get all whiney about it…

The title Magnolia City refers to the prevalent nickname for Houston, popular in the early 20th century and before, due to the magnolia groves that grew in East Houston. Throughout the book, there are references to some of the Houston elite women trying to lobby for a magnolia park to return the city to its grandeur during and after the Great Depression. For the “sake of urbanization” the magnolia groves are never reestablished to make the grand park envisioned by the ladies. That return to the “past” was frowned upon in the name of development. The nuance of the title hit me multiple times as I read the book as Hetty, our main character, as she finds her path and future while learning about the past bones in the family closet, so to speak.

Hetty is a member of the Allen family, decedent of the founders of the city of Houston. With all of the grandeur of the roaring 20’s, money and socialite prestige Hetty is on the brink of engagement to a very wealthy young man who would set her and her life for good. But upon meeting a mysterious stranger from Montana, Hetty must now decide her path. Does she do the right thing, as family, friends and society expect of her or does she throw her cards in with the exciting and fresh would-be wildcatter Garret. While Hetty has had enough of social dictates and decides to go with her heart, she still has much to learn about not only herself, but her family, her love, and her wild Texas land. She is one tough cookie though and through some expected and not so expected Miss Priss melt downs, she unlocks some amazing abilities, mysterious family secrets and discovers her own story along the way.

The sweeping scenery was fantastic in my humble (cough) opinion. I found Hetty hard to sympathize with at times being Miss spoiled rich girl but at the same time always ended up coming to her side as she persevered through trials not common for someone of her original upbringing. The story was compelling and I enjoyed the read. I was transported for a time back to the decidedly extra grand Texas size lavishness of the 20’s which I can imagine was something to behold! The weaving of the tale kept me going through to the end and I was not disappointed. Overall I’d give 3 ¾ stars of 5. Read the Goodreads synopsis for more info because I’m trying not to give it all away here.

Love ya and signing off,

Celia