New Book Review: The Heart Goes Last


Rated 3 of 5 stars

This is my first Margaret Atwood book but I find her style to be very entertaining. The Heart Goes Last is a redemption story at the heart of some dystopian-esque storyline. It was a very different style of story because the relationship between the main characters was sometimes the main story then the story shifted to social issues being the headliner. So what was it about in a nutshell? Charmaine and Stan are a married couple living in a post-depression America. They are living in their car trying their best to use Charmaine’s meager earnings as a bartender to stay afloat. Luckily, they have a car as a refuge because there are people who are taking advantage of the world’s utter disadvantage. It is their only safety from being robbed, beaten or raped. While at work, Charmaine sees an ad for Consilience Prison Project which promises clean homes for FREE for anyone accepted into the program via a life contract. These homes are fully furnished, all bills paid and food provided. Basically, safe, free living as long as they work in the community for a month then in the prison for a month (and so on for the rest of their lives). Anyway, Charmaine and Stan are accepted and enjoy life for a while. Stan has taken to his job in scooter repair in town and overseeing the chicken coops while in the prison. Charmaine works in a bakery in town and is Chief Medications Administrator (a highly secretive position which includes euthanizing “bad” people). Needless to say, Consilience is not all its cracked up to be and there are shady policies and procedures along with privacy issues. *enter social issue portion of the book*

Later in the story, you see the breakdown of Charmaine and Stan along with ah host of other characters that are pretty one dimensional for the most part. There’s lots of sex, sexual innuendos, sexual jokes and more (not sure if that’s an Atwood-thing or not). I found some of the character’s to be humorous and sometimes annoying, especially Charmaine. I didn’t find any character truly likeable throughout the whole book which is why the star count is so low. I thought the premise was the best thing about the book by far. On one hand, if Atwood would have wrote the story from the perspective of one person living within Consilience and finding out all the shady things that were happening, then it might have been a bit more agreeable to me as a reader. Overall, I felt Charmaine and Stan weak characters to base the book off of and they were pretty far from the actual happenings of the big wigs in the book in regards to how social experiments were happening until the very, very end. Therefore, you “heard” about the social experiments but never really read about them. Get it?

All in all, not a bad book if you like someone bickering in their own mind about their marriage or you like gossip and rumor style stories.

Raging Book Reviews

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