Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale (Book 1) and The Testaments (Book 2) by Margaret Atwood

I try to steer away from the genre of books we were required to read for academic purposes because I read leisurely to escape the world- it’s quite a burden to be reading such materials that will expose the harshness of reality.

The thing about dystopian fiction is that there is a sliver of truth in each outcome. Everything is a possibility- whether it’s a civilization of aliens or robots, or a trip back to historic monarchies. The ideas of the plot are firstly outlined by the choices that we humans make this very moment. This is why the pull for reading it is strong; we relate to it closer that we do to fantasy fiction.

The Handmaid’s Tale is considered as a classic for modern fiction, and I never really had the desire to read it because of its status. However, such times requires us to expand our scope, and I must say that I do regret reading it because of the heavy feelings it gave me. The book, in general, exceeds my standards for writing and plot devising. The series starts with the story of Ofred, a Handmaid, whose sole duty is to bear a child for a couple of high standing in the society. Here, Gilead is a fictitious country formed in the America under the absolute control of a cult.

Imagine, the horror of such idea being paraded as a moral duty because of their ideals and religious beliefs. I cannot stress enough how each scene has made me shiver because of the possibilities they impose.

Why did I carry on to the Testaments?

The second book is a collection of testaments from subjects being studied from the old Gilead, now a destroyed country. It offers a glimpse into the rest of the world and what Gilead plays in it, and the starting piece on to how everything was brought down. It reminds me a lot about the situation of North Korea. I wonder how long will it be until we finally take action- but do we really have the judgment to do so?

Sometimes it makes you wonder if we indeed have the right to decide for other countries as a whole based on their status. We have seen how some of those decisions went, and most of the countries we have tried to decide for are now just war zones.

I am afraid. I am afraid that these books are indeed our testaments.

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Book Review: Foursome by Jane Fallon

I’ve decided to give Jane another try, and this time, I was not as disappointed as I was with the last book.

It is, though, of the usual story of friendship, middle crisis, and adultery. Honestly I am going to be so happy if Jane finally writes something out of these- but I guess some writers are just made that way. I liked the appeal with this book. Foursome is a book about four friends from college and how things have changed in time. It centers on Rebecca, who is fully contented with her life until it begins to fall apart starting with the break up of her two best friends Alex and Isabel.

Rebecca is a stagnant character. She’s not very noticeable at all, and the life of the book is ironically set on the other characters who revolve around her. I love the twists in the book even when they are a bit expected just because of how the characters carry out the actions. I think it also brings out the truth in most families and lives today, and that it justifies that sometimes, life is boring as well because that’s just how it is.

I do hope Jane writes something from a third person point of view, I think it was always her strength. I’d like to see more depth from the other characters who run the course of the story.

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