Fifty States Of Fiction: Massachusetts


We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!


Today’s State: Massachusetts

Nickname: The Bay State

Motto: “By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only under Liberty”

Bird: Chickadee

Flower: Mayflower

Entered the union in: 1788

Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Massachusetts as Margaret Atwood portrays it in The Handmaid’s Tale.


Offred used to lie in the wide, sunny riverbanks of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Once, she had a husband who loved her. Once, she had a daughter. Once, she had her freedom. Now, she is a pious Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She only ventures outside the Commander’s Late Victorian house to walk to the food market and purchase supplies. Along the way, the lawns and roads are sparse. Dandelions and all the other pesky, uncooperative weeds that used to grow in her childhood have been ripped vigorously from the soil. All the soil in the Republic must be kept fertile. Including that of the womb. In the market, pictorial signs demarcate the wares for sale. Women aren’t allowed to read here. Along the river, blue and gold trimmed cupolas sprout from the buildings. While the Unwomen struggle to survive out in the prison Colonies, Offred is safe and sound in the Republic. And Offred will stay safe and sound. As long as she does what she’s told.

Have you read any other books set in Massachusetts? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what The Bay State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Michigan through literature.

And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.

See you all next week!


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