Margaret Atwood’s Genius in MaddAddam
In a sea of mediocrity, Margaret Atwood always manages to rise above and establish herself as the ultimate symbol of innovation, boldness, and insight. She is most recognized for The Handmaid’s Tale, a captivating drama that imagines the US as a dystopian society. Those wishing to gain even deeper insights into Atwood’s creative depths must move with speed and read MaddAddam, the last of an exciting trilogy. In this novel, while she leaves some readers disappointed, Atwood reinvigorates interest in her work and demonstrates her versatility.
MaddAddam Plot Summary
As noted above, MaddAddam is the last of a three-part series that Atwood created. To make sense of this novel, readers must first read the first two. In the first book, Atwood introduces her universe and some characters. She describes a post-apocalyptic world that is ravaged by hopelessness, and a desperate attempt to re-establish civilization. The world is lawless as it reels from a viral pandemic that decimated much of the human population. Jimmy, one of the survivors is the main character in the first novel.
In the second part of the trilogy, Atwood describes events that follow from the first book. Special attention is given to a group of women living in a rundown neighborhood that is inhabited primarily by the poor. Furthermore, Atwood talks about a religious cult that emerges and promises redemption to those who accept its message. This second book serves to connect the first and the third by introducing even more characters and going into deeper detail about the conflicts and drama that characterize the apocalyptic new world.
MaddAddam picks up from the second book. Toby and Zeb, two of the main characters in the second book make a return to this novel. These characters work together to redeem Amanda Payne, another survivor who works with Toby and Zeb in finding other survivors. Together, the survivors establish a camp from which they attempt to rebuild civilization. The novel shifts away from what transpires in the camp and focuses its attention on a cult that rejects environmental conservation while promoting corporate greed and consumerism. Zeb leads a campaign to expose this cult’s practices and engineer its collapse.
What should reader expect?
Those unfamiliar with Atwood’s work should probably stay away from MaddAddam. To these readers, this novel will be confusing and frustrating to engage with. However, readers who have interacted with Atwood’s other works will find MaddAddam to be refreshingly familiar. In this novel, Atwood writes in the same style that readers have come to love. Her use of made-up and technical-sounding names is particularly interesting and is sure to excite readers. This style could even help the novel attract the interest and commitment of readers new to Atwood’s writing.
Readers should expect to encounter a bleak world from which they will struggle to escape. Atwood manages to present this world in a way that is not so menacing that it scares readers away. This world echoes some modern societies and contemporary concerns. For example, Atwood delicately captures how religious fundamentalism can stifle human progress and keep people chained to ignorance and servitude. The novel is essentially a commentary on the damage that extreme religious beliefs can cause.
It is indeed surprising that in her chaotic universe, Atwood still created room for the discussion of such issues as environmental protection. She does this through her focus on the cult that is staunchly opposed to environmental conservation and encourages such damaging practices as the adoption of petrol-powered processes. Through this cult, Atwood issues a comment on the need for greater commitment to securing the environment. She presents this message so slyly and subtly that none of her readers will find the message inappropriate, intrusive, or offensive.
The fact that humanity is so unstable that it could descend into chaos at any moment is another message that readers should be prepared to receive from Atwood. While it is true that the events and developments that she describes are highly unlikely to occur, it is difficult to dismiss them as improbable. For example, as of writing of this review, the world is grappling with a viral pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and threatens the global economy. This pandemic shows that Atwood’s world is not a mere fictional universe; such a world could actually materialize.
Why MaddAddam is worth your time
Atwood gives her target audience good and numerous reasons to read MaddAddam. As noted in a previous section, her incorporation of technical writing into the book is among these reasons. Essentially, Atwood relies on technical details to bring her universe to life. However, she understands that too many technical details could overwhelm her readers. This must be why she choose to keep these details to a minimum and instead focus the novel on the actual experiences of the characters.
MaddAddam is worth the time of readers because it manages to distinguish itself from other books that address post-apocalyptic worlds. Such books are so many that the genre to which MaddAddam belongs has become saturated and even boring. Atwood refreshes this genre by creating an interesting world which combines unique characters with an exciting plot. Basically, Atwood demonstrates that even when she is working with over-used styles that have lost their charm and depth, she is still able to reel in her readers.
Atwood’s novel is also intriguing because it highlights the beauty of mankind. Whereas much of the book is depressing, it leaves readers with a feeling of relief and renewed love for humanity. This book makes it clear that while humans are capable of evil, they can also come together to exhibit what sets them apart from other species. MaddAddam is basically a celebration of humanity and will certainly renew the faiths of readers who feel that humanity is irredeemably evil.
Is it really that good?
Despite the prowess that Atwood demonstrates, her book still has some flaws. Among these flaws is that she rehashes some literary elements that have been over-used. For example, the kind of names that she gives to places and organizations are so uninspired that they will definitely cause some readers to cringe. It is as though while writing the third book of the trilogy, Atwood had exhausted her creative reserves and she rushed to complete this book. Even with this problem, the book retains its depth and will still excite readers.
Another problem with MaddAddam is that it may be too complex for some readers. Even those who have already read the first two books will struggle to keep up. There are simply too many characters and an excessive number of plot directions that readers can easily lose their way. To derive the most from the book, readers must be patient and should be willing to return to earlier chapters to remind themselves of what the book is about.
In conclusion, MaddAddam belongs to a bloated and saturated genre. However, this book manages to draw attention thanks to the expertise, mastery and competence that Atwood is known for. Fans of fictional works that predict an apocalyptic universe will particularly love MaddAddam. It is with tremendous confidence and excitement that this book receives an endorsement and is recommended for all. Those familiar with Atwood’s incredible books should be particularly aggressive and enthusiastic in reading the book.