It's hard to imagine how much anxiety I had last year over my daughter starting kindergarten. Especially considering with what zeal I dropped her off today for First Grade! In all seriousness though, my daughter seems to be one who thrives in a group setting (good thing I hadn't had plans to homeschool) and her behavior lately has indicated that she is ready to go back. We've talked about the fact that First Grade is going to be a big change from kindergarten, so I'll be interested to see how she handles that. I just can't wait already to pick her up and find out how things went!
I am still trying to get caught up with my reviews and I'm almost there. Last Monday evening, my book club got together to discuss The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It wasn't until I reviewed The Blind Assassin here that I realized how strongly people feel about Atwood's writing. I personally began with her book Alias Grace just because I thought it sounded good and have gone on to read many of Atwood's novels. I don't think I ever felt intimidated by or scared of her writing as others have told me they are.
This was my second reading of The Handmaid's Tale and I definitely enjoyed it even more this time around. I think this book is best read when you don't know too much about the story. The main character, Offred, is a Handmaid under a regime that has stripped her of her family, her home, her job, her money, and her rights. Sound familiar? Offred has one role and one role only - to become impregnated and bear a child for an officer of this regime whose wife is unable to. As with all of Atwood's writing, every word counts. The first time I read this book I read so carefully, as Atwood revealed the layers of this story and we learn how Offred and the others came to be living in this way. The greatest horror of this story is that it seems so real, that this could really be carried out by a government, and in fact has (the Holocaust). The second time, knowing the storyline and not anticipating the ending so much, I was able to fully immerse myself, enjoying the black humor along the way. Really, what is the liklihood that there would be laughs in a book like this, but this is Atwood we're talking about.
After I finished THM this time, I went on to read some critical studies of it online which were fascinating, pointing out symbolism in the text that I hadn't noticed. I'm frankly surprised that this book never won any awards, at least as far as I am aware. The idea, the execution, and the characters are simply brilliant. Everyone in my book club enjoyed this book, except one woman who found it 'mediocre'. Hmm.
Do come back tomorrow, I am doing something for the first time, and there will be prizes!