Author: Margaret Atwood
Genres: Classic, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Feminism
Published: March 16, 1998
Retail Price: $15.95
“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…” – Goodreads
The Handmaid’s Tale is about a world where men don’t do much and women are all in categories. There are the Wives, who dole out punishments to those underneath them in the house; the Marthas who take care of household chores; the Aunts who teach; and the Handmaid’s who are used for having babies. This story is actually a tale of a handmaid and her time being one while reminiscing on her far past before the system was set, and even her time transitioning into it.
I love how complex this world is and how we’re only given pieces of it at a time. It’s not too much at once and it kept me hooked because I wanted to know more. It added suspense that you wouldn’t think would be in this type of novel, yet it is. That adds a great aspect to the book that just boosts it up.
Our main character Offred is so smart. Its only seen and proven in certain situations that she’s put it but there’s a specific one that I can’t talk about because of spoilers. But she proves herself to be amazingly smart for the better even in this horrible situation she’s in.
I really enjoyed the fact that we were learning about Offred’s life in three parts. We have her past, which was her regular life before the change. Then there is her time in the handmaid school and her present time while she is a handmaid. It also doesn’t bother me that they are talked about at random because it made sense to me, so it added to the story. I feel like for some though, it being so sporadic with Offred’s storytelling may be offsetting to some. To say some things about some of our characters, I’d like to say I really enjoyed the commander in the beginning. Since we aren’t given much information about too many of our other characters though, there isn’t much to hate or like too much about anyone else.
Just to mention the ending… WHAT THE HELL? It really ended like that? I even texted my friend who I was borrowing the book from and said “DID THE HANDMAID’S TALE REALLY JUST END LIKE THAT?” and she only replied with: “Yep”. That was crazy to me, but I can’t tell you why because that might be considered a spoiler to some. I mean, it is the ending.
A very big thing I actually think I should mention is that there is very minimal romance in this book. It is there but only in small increments.
The Handmaid’s Tale is great for classic lovers who love complex worlds, don’t mind minimal action, and a great, suspenseful story line.
“She was minding her own business. No call to shoot her,” Page 20.
“There is more than one kind of freedom… Freedom to and freedom from,” Page 24.
“The life of the moon may not be on the surface, but inside,” Page 110.
“A man is just a woman’s strategy for making other women,” Page 121.
“Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing,” Page 135.
“all around the walls there are bookcases. They’re filled with books… Books and books and books…” Page 137.