I've put this off long enough, I think. I've been procrastinating in writing this because I wasn't sure what to rate it or how far to go. I hadn't read this before, so I felt I ought to finish it even when I discovered how much I didn't like it.
Now I've read some Atwood before, but I still expected more from this. It's so well known that I thought it had to be well-written. I thought it would be the exception to my previous Atwood experiences (Alias Grace and Oryx and Crake). I thought earlier Atwood had to be better Atwood. Not so much.
It's not that I hated it. It failed to evoke any emotions in me stronger than annoyance and exasperation. I was bored. The narrative felt stilted and awkward. I don't care that it was a literary device. It just tried too hard.
I guess that's what you need to do to gain literary acclaim: be really obvious and awkward with your craft. You know, wink at your critics while giving them a little nudge too. And be as tedious as you possible.
Atwood can keep her "speculative fiction" label since I'd consider this bad science fiction, despite the opinions of many of my friends.
Honestly, 1984 feels like such a breath of fresh air after The Handmaid's Tale...