Book fifty in 2012 – “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood

At some point in the recent past, the Audible Twitter account tweeted that they had “The Handmaid’s Tale” narrated by Claire Danes. I love Claire Danes so I went and read the description of the book. It sounded interesting and I thought maybe a bit futuristic somehow so I used an extra credit I had and got it. I also followed Margaret Atwood on Twitter and soon discovered that I would need to wait to read this book.

Atwood retweeted many people who shared their fear that if President Obama were not reelected, we could be looking at a future like the time in the book. I didn’t realize how old the book was until I was about halfway through and decided to look it up. It was written in the mid eighties and I was stunned, since the subject matter is so close to what was discussed in the politics during this campaign year.

I had taken my own advice and put off reading this book until I knew who the President would be. I’m not sure I waited long enough. It was all just a little too close to the fear I had felt just months ago, literal fear of being a woman and what would happen if those who, even being so incredibly against big government, wanted to regulate the female body and what was done with it.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book. I am not one to walk away from books but I almost did with this one. The main character was my age. I imagined Claire Danes since I had been a fan of hers when I was a sighted teenager. Hearing her read the part of this character who goes through unimaginable things made it all too real. A friend told me to stick with it, that the female gains some power, so I did.

I like a novel I can escape into. I like a novel that gets to me emotionally, sure, but this one? I found myself getting angry at Margaret Atwood. I wanted to shout at her, “just because you had this story in your head, why did you have to share it! Why did you have to put this in my head?”

In this book, women are reduced to nothing more than vessels for child bearing. Pregnancies must be carried out no matter if the fetus is healthy. they do not do tests on the fetus’ because it does not matter if it is unhealthy. No pregnancy is terminated. Women who give birth to babies that die are classified as unwomen. They are shamed. It is horrible.

I really wish I didn’t have this book in my head. I might be glad in the future to be able to say I read it because it seems like a classic already. It just reminds me of being forced to read books in high school that I didn’t like.

Before I started the book, I tweeted something like, Now that I know we aren’t going towards a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ like society, I can finally read the book by @MargaretAtwood. To which she replied, “That direction” ain’t over. They’ll be back, at the state and Congress level.”

How true. And how absolutely terrifying. I think for me this book summed up all the fear of this year. After the elections there was a tweet that read something like, you know your party is in trouble when you say, “the rape guy didn’t win” and the reply you get is, “which one?”

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics, twitter me this

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