Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: The Handmaid's Tale

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 22 - 28) I decided to review an older book, it has been on the banned books list before and it made it again this year. It's a favorite of mine and I think everybody should read it, and it definitely shouldn't be on any banned books list.

Title: The Handmaid's Tale                                       
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Feminist dystopia
Publication: 1985
Rating: 5/5 stars

The Cover


The books has several covers from different publishers but most of them feature an image of a handmaid. I don't particular like or dislike this cover and I'm not sure it's something that attracts readers but it does give you a good idea as to what the handmaid's look like and I find the fact that they're pictured with a huge wall next to them quite fitting to what they have to endure in their lives.


The Story


The novel tells the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. Handmaid's are only used as baby machines so to speak, they're property of their Commanders and are required to have sex with them every month in the hopes of getting pregnant because the Commanders actual wives can't have children. Offred's commander is called Fred, which is where here name comes from, which shows how much of property they really and how much value they have. Offred used to be a normal woman before society changed into this hell, she had a a job, a husband, a daughter and a name of her own but then things changed and she was stripped of all her rights and freedom by the new dictatorship and through flashbacks we get images of Offred's life before Gilead was founded.

My Thoughts


Even though this book was written in 1985, it still seems scarily accurate, it's a world that, while it may seem far-fetched, could become a reality. Especially considering that in many places women don't have the rights that are taken for granted in other countries. It's scary to imagine a world like it, maybe even scarier than other dystopias dealing with dictatorial regimes because what is going on in Gilead is downright disgusting.

What I find especially interesting of this story is that it is set at the beginning of this new society, unlike many other dystopian novels that are set way into the future when people don't know any other life. Offred, however, knows how it was before and she knows the freedoms that she has lost. I think this makes the reading of this novel a completely different experience because even though you know what a free live is, reading about it through the character that doesn't have it anymore, is a different thing.

Being a huge Atwood fan, I'm maybe biased when I say this but this is a engaging novel that pulls you into an emotional and grueling story. It's like a scary dream you don't seem to wake up from. The writing style is maybe something you either love or hate, it's different and needs some getting used to because it's more unconventional than conventional but it's something you have to experience yourself.



10 comments:

  1. One of my favorite books, but very scary. It's a world that Margaret Atwood makes so real that it is downright scary!

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    1. Yes! Often dystopian novels seem implausible but Atwood manages to make it seem all too real.

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  2. I'm really glad you posted this! I will have to add this to my "to read" list!

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    1. You're very welcome! I hope you'll like it!

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  3. I've been having this book in my 'to read' list since forever since it's one of those books that I keep seeing again and again in the 'must-read/best post-apocalypse books' lists. I'm actually pretty sure I even have it loaded on my kindle, but I keep reading other things. Thanks for the review, it'll be another good reason to read it soon.

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    1. You're welcome! I hope you'll like it when you get around to it.

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  4. Being Canadian, we love anything written by Margaret Atwood, and this book was no exception. It certainly was a haunting tale.

    Jen

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    1. Glad you like the book and her! I'm a huge fan of anything she writes, she's an amazing writer.

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  5. This book has been a favorite on my bookshelf for years. A great choice for Banned Books Week.

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    1. Thank you! I've read it years ago as well and Banned Books Week seemed like a good opportunity to put this one in the spotlight.

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