The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

302995ca093a448600c68152064291b9Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 311
Category: 28. Read a book labelled as a best seller this year
Format: Paper

Date Started: February 14th 2017
Date Finished: February 21st 2017

In keeping with my theme of the year, this is yet another book with a theme that includes how powerful words are. The protagonist (Offred) exists in a world where she, as a woman is not allowed to read anything, nor is she allowed to write anything. Of course, Offred remembers a time when that was not the case, a time when her name was not Offred and was not changeable depending on which household she was assigned to.

Offred is a Handmaid, dressed all in red, her only job is to get pregnant and carry a healthy child to term. The child will be raised by the household and she will be moved to a new household to perform the same role. Nothing about her life is her own anymore. She cannot choose her clothes, her food, her sexual partner or where she goes.

As both a woman and a lesbian this book was incredibly powerful to me, as I’m sure it has been for many others. While women’s rights have not taken the downward spiral described by Atwood nor have LGBT+ rights, there is certainly a sense of powerlessness, it’s politicians and voters who hold the power rather than you as an individual. Offred and the other Handmaid’s offer a perfect look into what life might be like when one doesn’t even have the power to choose the clothes they wear or what they eat for breakfast.

The fact that such a book still resonates so strongly is a testament to how little has changed in the everyday lives of many minorities, in particular women. The quote at the top of this review is certainly true. If equality were to exist for women then men would surely be slightly worse off.

Rating: 4/5

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Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

Title: Scrappy Little Nobody51zgenypunl-_sx258_bo1204203200_
Author: Anna Kendrick
Genre: Autobiography
Pages: 271
Category: 30. Listen to an audiobook
Format: Audiobook

Date Started: January 7th 2017
Date Finished: January 13th 2017

Okay, so it’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I totally love Anna Kendrick. If I wasn’t gay already I would absolutely go gay for her. Of course, that was never a guarantee that she could write. Luckily, she can.

This was actually my first foray into the wonderful world of audiobooks which I’ve never been a huge fan of for reasons that lead back to my own childhood. Do you remember when your teachers would read out loud to the class? I hated that, my brain would switch off and the words would go in one ear and out the other. That’s still the case, with the exception of the autobiography apparently.

I think anyone reading this book (or listening to it) will find some part of it to identify with. For me it was Kendrick’s experience growing up and feeling out of place, different to the other girls in her school. She was the tiniest kid growing up, I was the biggest, we both stood out. This feeling is summed up so perfectly by Kendrick describing a moment with her mother as a child in which she told her mother:

It’s like, it’s like I have a different heart. The other girls have one kind of heart, and I have a different kind.” My mom was understandably confused. “Are you saying they’re mean?” “No . . . I don’t know.” Saying other kids were mean felt like I was saying I was more kind, which definitely wasn’t it—more anxious maybe, more sensitive. I guess all I was feeling was that I was different.

There was a lot I didn’t identify with too, I’ve never performed on broadway, I’ve never been trapped with a dozen or more actors with nothing for entertainment except a couple of boardgames.

Kendrick reminds us that the celebrities we know and love are just like us, struggling to find a job and pay our bills, figuring out who to have relationships with, what is important to us and what isn’t. Their grandparent’s die, they have emergency dental surgery, they experiment with drugs and they don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done either.

I’ve read a few autobiographies in my time from Portia de Rossi to Chely Wright and Drew Barrymore (both her recent release and her teenage reflection). This one is probably the funniest one I’ve come across and kept my attention from beginning to end with entertaining anecdotes from youth right through to Pitch Perfect.

If you haven’t already pick it up and give it a read. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 4/5

Bad Moms – 2016

Title: Bad Moms
Year: 2016bad_moms_poster
Director: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Genre: Comedy
Date Watched: January 16, 2017
Category: A comedy

This movie was absolutely what I expected from watching the trailer with maybe just a little extra craziness. What did I expect from the trailer? A predictable plot, a few jokes, a bit of a romance subplot, and playground politics that remind us all that girls most definitely don’t get nicer after high school.

If you like a nice, easy to watch comedy that doesn’t make you think too deeply this is a great watch for you. If you want something a bit deeper, maybe skip Bad Moms.

Basic premise for those of you who haven’t heard of it: Amy (Mila Kunis) is a mom to 2 kids, she finds out her husband is having an affair with someone he met online, far worse she realises that she doesn’t love him anymore. After kicking him out, she goes through the day from hell including her dog getting sick, getting coffee spilled on her, then spaghetti, amongst many other things, culminating in a particularly pointless PTA meeting where she completely loses her shit.

She pledges to no longer be a ‘good’ mum because it’s impossible, she’s going to be a bad mom, she meets a couple of other mum’s from her kid’s school and cue the requisite movie montage.

After hurting her kids and escalating things with the PTA mean mom (Christina Applegate) she eventually realises it doesn’t have to an all or nothing situation and finds a balance with both her kids and her nemesis. Her kids finally start doing their own homework and feeding themselves breakfast. Even though the film is slightly overdramatised for comedy purposes, it certainly reminds us that the expectations we put on kids and parents are oftentimes unrealistic.

Bad Moms definitely managed to do what it set out to do, giving viewers an hour or two of entertainment, in fact it managed even a little more than that in reflection of our modern society.

Rating: 3.5/5