Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Handmaid's Tale - Book & Hulu Series

This is a TV Tuesday, doubling as a Recent Reads post.
Similar to my reviews of Wayward Pines.
I really like dystopian tales ... so you might be a little surprised that I'd never read "The Handmaid's Tale" before. I'd heard of it, it was on my "to read" list, but I'd just never gotten around to it. Then in early 2017, there was so much hullabaloo about Hulu's new series. I figured I'd probably want to watch it. So I'd better read the book first ... right?

I put it on hold at my local library (requesting the Kindle copy) and it came in pretty quickly. At first I'd been a bit disappointed that the library didn't have it in audio format, but I was glad I did an old-fashioned (albeit digital) read. I looked up the audio ... read by Claire Daines. After having seen her in Homeland, and associating her so much with the character there, I think that might have impacted my enjoyment. Moreover ... the text had some idiosyncrasies that just couldn't have come across in a reading of the text (missing punctuation, etc.) I didn't fully understand why somethings were written they way they were, but it added to the overall experience for me. My GoodReads review of the book is here.

Any book made into a movie or television series is likely going to stray from the original work. Just Google it, and you'll see several sites have already addressed and discussed said differences (Time's article for instance). 

For me ...
  • Serena joy was much younger and had been more involved in the movement before. The book indicates her age, and even has her using a cane.
  • Offred announces her name at the end of the first episode ... in the book, we are NEVER told her name.
  • Differences in action: To name just a few ... in the book, Moria attempts escape and has her feet beaten, then does manage to escape. In the series, June escapes with Moria, and has her feet beaten when she alone is recaptured. Janine's baby end's up being "unacceptable" in the book ... the storyline with Janine and the baby is completely altered in the series.  While the reader, like June, has no idea what happens to Luke, in the Hulu series he has his own storyline giving us a much bigger picture of what happens... whereas June's mother, who has a small storyline in the book is cut out of the TV series completely.
As mentioned in many articles, the Hulu series brought the original text into the current time frame, adding in smart phones and online dating and is more diverse than specifically stated in the book. I think many things came across stronger with the visual presentation of the series, although I had been originally surprised at the frequent use of the f-word in the book (it doesn't surprise me in current writings, but in a book published back in 1986 ...) The book, while obviously dealing with sexual content, wasn't really explicit, the series got a little steamy (for the consensual encounters). 

I liked the book. I liked the Hulu series. I'm glad I read the book first though ...

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