One thing I must confess is I admire Mrs. Atwood. Being such a famous author and a Canadian too. She shows that Canadians can be famous just as much as any American. And me being an author too, I'd love to meet her someday.
Just like The Handmaid's Tale, only much longer, this book is beautifully written as always but doesn't know what it really wants to be about. I can't really blame her completely, because this is based off of a real story from papers of a girl named Grace Marks who was sentenced to several years in jail until further notice in 1843 for the death of her boss and a housekeeper Grace worked with. Then, at the present day, fifteen years after that occurrence, Grace gets her own doctor and perhaps a lawyer, who is trying to find a way to prove Grace innocent while Grace can't remember much either. The book therefore transitions between the present time and years ago, when Grace migrates from Ireland to Canada and looks for work, and also goes to the doctor's own life in the meantime.
Now, I have an idea. If Grace is inside the jail, why not put more detail into the layout of it to see if Grace could get better food or possibly a way out? It appears she doesn't, but what I meant about it not knowing what it wants to be about, is how about sixty percent of this book is unnecessary. The grave problem is that Margaret Atwood expects us to love the forgotten famine and dystopian society of the nineteenth century, when we don't really. Not every chapter has a reason. Some do, some don't, but either way, a lot of the little story details made me ask myself why that was in there. Is it to make you feel good? No, generally not. One by one, it's a painfest. There's even a main character death that is emphasized throughout the rest of the book, and her death was deliberate and Grace knows how. But she forgets about it and doesn't think about any possible ways for a retribution. I understand some books try to teach you that violence is not always the option, but this one, even though it may have that message partially, is a cynical way to see peace. Plus, this book also made me feel nauseous occasionally, which, like The Handmaid's Tale, had a knack for detail of scents, and more of them were disgusting and related to horse dung or butter.
And lastly, the ending takes too long to get there. I won't spoil it, but when I put the book down, I felt like I just read a book about a complete wimp who never took chances and doesn't see a way to escape when she sees it. I feel very bad because Margaret Atwood must have loved writing this book. She gets points for her poetry and for adults who are Atwood's age, go to Church to pray to God every possible time, can forget significant flaws, and love the history of the old days are going to meet the book of the past millennium.