The Handmaid’s Tale
Series: The Handmaid’s Tale #1
Author: Margaret Atwood
First Published: 1985
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
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 . . .
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
What an intense read! Like Orwell and Bradbury, Atwood is great with the cautionary tales! It does take a little while to get going and figure out what is happening, but then it takes off! I realize that as a woman, my perspective is going to be different. Listening to Offred comparing her life in Gilead to her life during the Anarchy, I was terrified. Leaving abortion out of it (I’m not going to start a political fight, we all love each other too much to do that), all the rights and freedoms pulled from women are the kinds of things that we’re even seeing today for everyone! Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten nearly as far as Gilead, but like I said, Atwood is all about a cautionary tale. Is it as good as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451? I won’t say that. I’ll also say that maybe it could have used a little more action. However, it’s and engaging and scary read and I think the majority of Americans should read it!