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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Publication Date: 1986
Format: Paperback
Source: personal
Challenge Met: 2012 TBR

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

The Religious Right has officially taken over and all women lose their rights. On top of that they are also facing a reproduction crisis due to all the toxins used. Because of this, any woman that is considered fertile (has given birth in the recent past) becomes high commodity and are “reprogrammed” by “Aunts” and sent to homes deemed worthy. The women are used by the man of the house in hopes of conceiving. The creepy way that it is required by the powers that be to conceive is hard to read because I just couldn’t imagine human beings using another in such a way. Suffice it to say, the Handmaids (as they are called), are not well liked by the wives of the head of the household and they must tread lightly.

The Handmaid’s Tale is told from the POV of Offred and her life in the Republic of Gilead. After being “reprogrammed” she is sent to her new home. She, of course, remembers a time when she was had freedom and wore what she wanted and even had a job, a husband and a child. Now she is considered nothing more than a “womb”. If she wanted to leave this service she would be stripped of her title and become unwoman and sent to the colonies to do manual labor. The way it was hinted at is that this is something you do not want. In fact, many a Handmaid has taken her life instead of facing the current future or the alternative.

The Handmaid’s Tale was a decent read and Atwood definitely built a scary world. I personally would have loved if there were some further explanations to the events that happened that caused the Religious Right to take over so quickly. I just wanted more from this novel. The whole time I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale; it played out in my mind as an old black and white movie and I felt really disconnected from Offred. Worth a read if you like dystopian novels but wouldn’t say it would be top priority.



Teawench said...

I've always seen how good this book is but never really knew what it was about. I might have a copy somewhere but I doubt I'll search it out now if not. Thanks!