The Handamaid’s Tale
Genre: Fiction (science fiction, speculative fiction)
How I discovered this book: Goodreads. But it has always been reccomended to me but I refound it through goodreads.
Rate: (Scale from 1-10):
Quality of writing: 10
“Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”
So. A dystopian America in which women are culled into 4 groups: Wives, Handmaids, Marthas and Econowives. This happens after a terriost attack wipes out the government all at once. At first the religious growth attackers over seems to be caring for a nation filled with chaos but it’s soon revealed that they use their postion to create a theocracy with rigidly defined gender codes.
The story is told by Offred, in what seems to be letters or journal entries. She was a married woman at the time of the take over and she recounts the swift decline in her life as well as the swiftness of the new rules.
Reasons I enjoyed or disliked:
Argh! That’s the first thing I say about this book. Not because it was bad, on the contrary, it is excellent. I say it because it is a very very plausible thing that could happen in the world. In this country, even.
(I read this backstage during a show. I think the women who had read it before were amused by my first reading of it. I kept putting it down in digust because of the world it was portraying. They told me to stick with it. And so should you.)
The storytelling is wonderful in that it’s not a linear telling. You jump around as Offred tells the story from her memories and the happening of the action. I feel like this keeps you at the edge of your seat with wanting to find out what happens to her. And the ending….. Was everything and nothing at the same time. It’s good. Really good. (I don’t want to give it away. Call me when you’ve read it. We’ll discuss our feelings.)
Very horrific things happen to her and women that have become commonplace, which make it very very scary. As you’re reading it, you can’t help but think of how the society in the book I s plausible today. With the arguments about birth control, same sex marriage, and the way some people are pushing religion as a political argument- it’s pretty easy to see that this could be a conclusion of it. (I don’t mean people who are religious and faithful. I mean the people who try and push their religious beliefs on you. That’s no good.)
The way Atwood gets you thinking is really clever. You start just wanting to find out more about Offred and move into what the reality of this could be. It’s really gets the nerves and thoughts going.
In summary, this book took me to a whole new level of feminism. I went from wanting to throw my shoes at the patriarchy, to wanting to punch them in the nuts. Repeatedly.
So. Well done, Ms. Atwood.
Yay or Nay?
YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! This book should be required reading. For everyone. Once they turn 15.
I plan on giving this to every young person was soon as I feel they’re ready For it.