The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood

22 05 2018

I haven’t seen any of the TV show, but the premise sounded interesting enough to give it a go, and I’m *mostly* glad I did.

The book focuses on a society where due to some war or radiation poisoning or something, most women are infertile, and so couples often take a woman into their home to conceive a child for them. These women dress head to toe in red other than their white caps to hide their hair, they are not known by their real names, and live a minimal existence – they’re seen as above the servants, but definitely below the wives. Society is such that all reading is illegal, any beautifying is not permitted, and the Handmaids are not allowed to chat, talk or communicate with each other beyond greetings and goodbyes really. It’s not just the handmaids who are uniformed though – wives dress all in blue, servants in green (I think!)

I found the introduction by the author fascinating. She said that when writing the book (in the 1980s) she decided that she didn’t want anything happening in the book which had not already happened somewhere in history. This is bizarre when the novel sounds completely dystopian, but she gives the examples of Jacob and Rachel in the Bible: “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”” – Genesis 30 vv 1-3.

Through the whole book we never learn our lead characters name. She talks us through life in the household of the Commander and his wife, whilst giving flashbacks to “normal” life several years before, before everything changed, and everything in between.

The author had a really odd way of only using quotation marks for dialogue when it was “present day”, so all the memories shared, which is a good proportion of the book, take a while to get used to – working out what’s narration and what’s dialogue!

The only bit I didn’t like about the book was the ending, I won’t give things away other than to say it was wholly unsatisfying – a real shame when the rest of the book was so strong!


**UPDATE**
I was talking to a friend of mine after posting this and saying how I didn’t like the ending. She asked if I’d read the epilogue. I asked what epilogue?
It turns out that the “Historical notes” at the back of the book which I chose to skip is actually an epilogue and part of the story…! A bit more satisfied now.

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White List: Katy Page Designs

20 05 2018

I recently bought the most wonderful Seven Dwarves backpack from Amazon – the reviews were all good, but a lot did warn me that zip tags would go almost instantly. So when on the first day the tags came off in my hand, I wasn’t surprised, and already had a plan.

Katy Page makes the most amazing Disney Princess Charm Bracelets, including a Snow White one, and so I contacted her to ask if she could use some of those items to make keyrings that I could use as zip tags.

Not only did she agree to give it a go, she made recommendations of adding beads to give something more substantial to hold on to (and asked for a photo of the bag so she used suitable colours!), and sent me these lovely pieces!

Really affordable, and fantastic customer service 🙂





Internet highlights – w/c 13th May 2018

19 05 2018

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Internet highlights – w/c 6th May 2018

12 05 2018

Bloke read and summarised Michael Flatley’s (horrendous) Autobiography so you don’t have to!

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The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett (UNFINISHED)

6 05 2018

I picked up this book in a charity shop because Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are raved about, and this is the first in the series. I got about 100 pages in before I gave up. I’m told later books are better and this one is more scene setting, but in 100 pages barely anything happened, and I just didn’t care about the things that did.

The book is split into four sections, and so when I reached the end of the first one, I admitted defeat, I just didn’t care enough to carry on. If you enjoyed this book, I do apologise – maybe one day I’ll try a different one in the series from recommendations I’ve been given…

For now I’m looking forward to trying something different.





Internet highlights – w/c 29th April 2018

5 05 2018

Incredible thread: “like that, but cat.”

Mundane celebrity encounters.

The musical numbers from Saved By The Bell.

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Internet highlights – w/c 22nd April 2018

28 04 2018

The difference between normal food and hipster food.

Clearing up menstrual cycle misconceptions.

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