The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
I first read The Handmaid’s Tale back when I was in high school, as a part of the local book club the library held for teens. I remembered thinking “This would never happen”. Flash forward to 2017 and well, there are some similarities and parallels to be drawn. I had remembered loving this book when I read it then, but it had been so long, that I didn’t remember any of it, so I decided it was time for a reread.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel about a woman named Offred, a breeder in this new world. Handmaid’s are women of a certain age who have been proven to be fertile, and they live with the Commander’s and their families where they serve only to create more children. This book is exactly the title, it is Offred’s tale, as we see her present day circumstances, and also her reflecting on her past, the way things used to be, when the country changed, her family and friends.
Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
I somehow really connect with Atwood’s writing style. I’ve seen a bunch of reviews saying this book is boring, and I honestly do see where those reviewers are coming from. This book isn’t fast paced at all and there are lots of descriptions. But personally, I find this book completely fascinating and haunting, both times I read it I devoured it. There’s a reason it’s a contemporary classic, and it’s because the story in this book could be any woman in any country. Honestly, there are some politicians out there, the things we find horrifying in this novel is their wet dream come true. And it terrifies me.
My favorite part about this book is it really made me ponder a lot of things. Like, what if this happened to me? There are lots of what ifs that we never get answers to, things to think about. But I never felt unsatisfied in not getting those answers. Atwood intended for us to think about it ourselves and make up our own minds. It doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong, it’s meant to make us consider.
Anyways, I haven’t watched the Hulu series yet, I saw the horrible movie they made in 1990 and I can honestly say any adaptation is probably better than that one. So I look forward to the series!
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, even if you don’t like it, I see it as a cautionary tale that people need to hear.
“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”