The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - ISBN: 978-0-7710-0879-5
This is the story of Offred, one of the "handmaids" whose purpose is to breed. In the new social order in which women are told they are being controlled for their own good, Offred lives in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is sent out once a day to the food market, chaperoned; she is not permitted to read; and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because if not she'll be sent to a toxic work camp, or end up as a sex slave in Jezebel's. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, and a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed. At once a brilliant satire, dire warning, and eulogy for lost values, this devastating novel has become a modern classic.
Who Will Like It?
Fans of the Hunger Games who are looking for something a little more grown up are sure to love this dystopian novel. Also, if you're looking to get the novel read in time for Hulu's release of the series next month, we have perfect timing. Lastly, though this novel was written in the 1980s, it is still painfully relevant today. Anyone who is concerned about our present day society will instantly be captivated, and maybe a little scared, by this addicting read.
Things To Look Out For:
- Feminist Themes: this story is about a dystopian society that systematically oppresses women, so there are some definite moments where you see feminist theory and ideals
- Religious Extremism: The government in this book is based on religious elements. While they use scripture to back up their laws, I still wouldn't regard them as christian, but watch out for moments that delve into their reasoning behind their beliefs.
- Parallels between the book and today's society
What Are Others Saying?
Most critics agree that The Handmaid's Tale is an extremely powerful book that has managed to stay extremely relevant throughout the years, much like Fahrenheit 451 or 1984. The story line is downright haunting, and I know I had difficulty putting it down. I started it at around the same time as Z and I finished it before I finished our book for February. The main sources of criticism I saw was that it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, many readers were frustrated that it didn't present all the facts neatly on a single plate, but instead gave them to you little by little. This doesn't necessarily reflect bad writing (in fact, I think it shows the opposite) but more just individual preferences.