For my first Cimmerian Tales Book Club recommendation, I wanted to pick a spectacular book (Seriously, I put waaaay too much thought into this.) and I think I settled upon the perfect first book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
If you love dystopian fiction like I do, this book is a must read. Published in 1985, this brilliant novel was encouraging readers to analyze our possible future long before The Hunger Games or Matched. In a teeny, tiny nutshell The Handmaid’s Tale is Offred’s first-person account of her life under the new Republic of Gilead, a life where she has lost pretty much everything. Every time I read this book (as a teenager, in college, and now as a wife and mother), I have discovered new levels of horror. While not a young adult novel, I think Offred’s loss of control of her own life resonates with readers of all ages.
What I love most about this book is the importance of words. Offred struggles to survive her life as a handmaiden and a woman under the new regime; this means her life is so literally repressed, words take on an almost magical quality. She savors words like stolen sweets, something which really appeals to me as a writer.
My favorite quote from the book?
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
I like to ponder this quote when I’m thinking of characters for my stories…
So read the book and please let me know what you think. I love comments.
Stay tuned for Jen’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club next week. Follow us on Twitter to get updates and news.