Dystopia: Reading In Our New Reality, Part I

I have a confession to make. I never got around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I know, I know. What kind of feminist couldn’t be bothered? The kind that didn’t read much modern lit of any kind in high school or college and has never much liked dystopian novels. They feel predictable — change your ways, the world/country/species depends on it, learn your lesson now before it’s too late, etc etc — and, honestly, unbelievable.

Well, it’s a whole new world. Now that we live in Dystopia thanks to Tr*mp & his cohorts, I thought I’d give Atwood a belated read. My experience reading “THT” in my late 30’s will be very different from the experience of those who read it during their formative years — especially now that just about anything seems possible.

Obviously, there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t read the book, but want to or are reading it now (it’s a bestseller again, LOLsob), I’ll make a note of the page number I’m at towards the top of each entry. Feel free to read along, leave your own comments with your impressions, and join in the dark humor approach to survival that I’m increasingly glad I was raised with.

Note: This is not a critique of the book or Atwood; I’m not including any #YourFavIsProblematic content. (Partly because it’s almost impossible to keep up on who’s said what over the years, but mostly because it’s beyond the scope of this series.) I’m simply reading the novel and responding to its contents with the current political climate as context. Trust me, that’ll be enough to work with.

I’m 50 pages in right now and still waiting for something I find implausible — an appropriate reflection of the administration we’re all watching anxiously on the edge of our seats. Yanno, in the moments where we aren’t preparing for every worst case scenario we can imagine. The Handmaid’s Tale is giving me a whole new set of scenarios to anticipate — and resist.

Stay tuned…

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