Book Review: “The Heart Goes Last”

The Heart Goes Last

By: Margaret Atwood

Page length: 380

Rating: 2 stars


Before I go into any details, you must know something. I have only ever not finished a book once. However, The Heart Goes Last could have been the second, yet I trudged on through.

Unlike some of you, I have not read a book by veteran author, Margaret Atwood. I expected quite a bit from this book because most of the Dystopian books I have read, though they were not written very well, had an immersive plot line. Atwood’s book lacked both. Again, this is only MY review. You may feel differently.

Here we go, a little summary:

A young married couple has to survive during a terrible financial depression that takes hold of the entire North Eastern United States. The once hard-working couple, with a nice house and future ahead, had to sell everything to live in their car when both of them were fired from their jobs. This depression caused the entire region to go bankrupt, forcing people to survive in any way they could. There were roving gangs and an employment drought that made life hard to live.

When suddenly, the main female character – Charmaine – sees a commercial at this bar she was working at. It is advertising a place where people must apply to live in this beautiful town, known as Consilience, and receive their own house. However, there is a catch – every other month they must live in Positron, the town’s prison. Charmaine and her husband, Stan, were accepted to Consilience. Yet, things were not so peachy, and life turned bad fast.

Now, the Review:

There is a lot I could say, but I’ll try to put it relatively short.

Anyone who reads Dystopian, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy wants the story to be as realistic as it can be. Though we know the plot and the events are not real, it feels believable. The Heart Goes Last was not believable at all. The plot felt goofy, and lacked seriousness. At first, the plot was serious, because it took place during a financial depression and there were criminals amok – all signs of struggle. Yet, when things became serious in their new town, the main characters only questioned the problems, they never looked to find answers. This annoyed me because how could you have the same recurring gut feeling that there is a mass issue, but not try to figure out if your feelings were accurate? Instead, the characters went on with their business, allowing all of these odd hints to go right over their ignorant heads. Until, bad things started to find them

The characters lacked substance, and felt very one-dimensional. The female lead,     Charmaine, was set up to be a goody-two-shoes. However, when she finally did          something wrong, she did not have as much remorse as you would expect. She also  had this grandma that she would bring up now-and-then who never had a part at all in the entire book. She was used as a memory about ways Charmaine should act.  There was a story underneath that, about Charmaine’s childhood that was never resurrected. It felt as if Atwood wanted to bring it up later in the book, but she never did. The other main lead, Stan, only cared about sex. He was lead by his dick,  not his brain. This was very apparent because the author stated so at least 40 times  in the novel. As you could assume, he was not a very intriguing character.

The writing started out as a unique twist (very youthful), until it became boring and repetitive. First things first, do you like to swear? Frankly, I do it all the time, but I’d prefer not to read it all the time. Which there was a lot in the book. To the point I     was questioning if how much I swear annoys others this much. (I can truly see why my Mom always tells me to stop!) Atwood’s writing takes away professionalism, an leaves you feeling very underwhelmed. This does not mean I did not find parts that were well- written, such as the beginning. However, after that it when down hill. It felt very cliche.

Overall, I rate this book as two stars because I never felt like I wanted to sit down and read it for hours. It was a struggle to get through the lack of characterization. I found myself wondering, do I really care about these characters? Not really. If you have to ask yourself that, then that book is not for you.

I hope in the end this review helps you!


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