Saturday, September 19, 2015
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
3.0 out of 5 stars -- "...these Utopian schemes always went bad and turned into..."
Freedom of choice is an important concept and one which most of us hold dear. When Stan and Charmaine are living in their car after a severe economic downturn, they don't have many choices. Hungry and dirty, they jump at an offer that seems too good to be true! If they choose to commit to the Positron Project, they'll have jobs and a home again. They'll have to alternate living in their house with stints in the prison there, but won't it be nice to have security and comfort? The only caveat -- once they go in, they can never go back out. Things go very well at the beginning, but when Charmaine has a forbidden affair, all starts to unravel quickly.
I really liked the premise and the first part of the book, but the "unraveling" of Positron and the bizarre events that happen to Stan and Charmaine really stupefied me. I like a good dystopian novel with all of the scary possibilities that might be in the dark future, but some of this was so far out and off-the-wall that it fizzled. I had trouble forcing myself back into the story to finish it, and ultimately didn't really care too much what happened to Stan and Charmaine -- who weren't very likable characters.
I've read many of Margaret Atwood's novels and liked most, and I'm sure fans will want to read this latest, but I didn't feel it was quite up to her usual standards and I was left just feeling ambivalent. Parts were quite entertaining as social commentary and definitely some interesting points to ponder or discuss. But as a whole, I felt let down and glad to be done with Stan and Charmaine.
Thank you to NetGalley, Doubleday Books Nan A. Talese for the e-book ARC to review.