The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Rate: 5/5


Medium: Kindle


Overview (No Spoilers):

Upon the recommendation of my friend Kari and seeing the many positive reviews of my fellow bloggers, I added The Handmaid’s Tale to my reading list.  This is my fourth book by Atwood after thoroughly enjoying her MaddAddam Trilogy last summer, i.e., Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, MaddAddam.  I was quickly hooked in this dystopian novel as we follow the narrative of Offred, as she seamlessly bounces back and forth between recounting the events leading to, during, and after the overthrow of the US government.  Hauntingly, Offred tells in hindsight, how women’s rights were taken away seemingly one small act at a time by the stand-in government with the false promise that the measures were all temporary, until events had progressed to a point of no return. It is hard to imagine women in this day and age regressing to the horrors witness and submitted to by Offred, although there was an undercurrent of, in not believability, plausibility registering in my unconscious while reading. Regardless, this thought provoking tale created by Atwood seems eerily beyond its time, as I was shocked to learn that the novel was originally published in 1985.  Overall, I would highly recommend reading The Handmaid’s Tale, however be forewarned that this story by no means can be classified as a ‘feel good’ read.


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • What happened to our main character? Did Offred make it out of Maine?
  • What happened to Nick? Did he save her? Was Offred pregnant?
  • What would have happened if Offred had not been saved by Nick? What would have Serena Joy’s punishment been?
  • What happened to her child? Luke? Moria? So many unknowns!
  • Would Luke and Offred been part of the middle class had they not ran? I’m guessing not due to this being their second marriage.
  • Were people really shipped to the Colonies? What happened to her mother?
  • I really enjoyed the last chapter that takes place in the future, where they are reviewing ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at an academic conference and how hard it is to verify the credibility of the story or even track down the identities of the individuals.  It was relieving to find out that terrible male dominated regime did not last.   How did our protagonist record/hide the tapes.
  • Was  I the only one that was oblivious to the names they were assigned denoting the name of their Commander? Offred = Fred and Ofglen = Glen
  • I’m intrigued by the ‘middle class’ that was barely discussed, with only their dress highlighted.  How did they survive?

 

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67 comments

  1. Wasn’t there a racial aspect to that final chapter…as in the people of the future were all people of color, and white people had all disappeared due to the infertility, or am I remembering that part wrong? (I last read this book in the 90s.) You MUST continue your Atwood experience with The Blind Assassin, which is my favorite. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this book in college, at that time I’d never read anything quite as realistically disturbing as this before. Whilst a dystopian novel it has so much normality to it that makes it seem believable, like everything that was their reality could quite easily become ours. It left me very uncomfortable but I think that’s what makes it a great book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • You’re correct, there’s a second season slated for 2018.

        It’s a slower show, but it’s darkness is more disturbing because it’s believable and *not* over the top like many dystopians…

        And perhaps because through Offred we have such a deeply personal account.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this book and read it a couple months ago! I’m glad you liked it! I feel like there wasn’t really a “middle class” persay in this society. You were either a high class male with handmaid a and the like, or a low class male with the “multipurpose women”. There was no such thing as a conventional relationship as far as I could tell, and it didn’t seem like there was anything in between. Maybe some of the multipurpose families had enough money to be middle class? I’m not sure

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this book too Joce. Perhaps I used the wrong term in calling them middle class. I was referring to the men and women that had to wear stripes. I was just using terminology that was denoting lets say a upper class (commanders) and the lower class (Handmaids) where they aren’t in control of their lives at all. In my use, ‘middle class’ was meant to describe everyone else.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A lot of what she discusses is all too real.

    Take a look at the way women in Pakistan or Iran dressed in the 1950s versus today. Hard won freedoms can be taken away very quickly if not diligent. This book helps remind us of that, and I believe, is all too relevant today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read the book a few months ago, and I also loved it. I also missed the naming rules until it was explained. I thought they were new names following some naming pattern of elsewhere. Like nicknames following a certain pattern, I thought it was some unique linguistic meaning in the society.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a coincidence! It appears we picked up and finished the book at around the same time. Interesting that you liked that epilogue chapter. It seems like we both perceived this as a downer type of book. I was actually kind turned off by that epilogue that suggests Offred had a happy ending >_>

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Patrick! It seems like we almost always agree with our opinions regarding books! I really didn’t get the vibe that Offred’s ending was inferred as happy, just that she made it to Maine at some point. So many answers left unanswered!

      Like

    • Until you mentioned it I hadn’t seen any drama about it. I’ve been googling and I’m guessing Channel 4 is a public channel. I haven’t seen the show but I can imagine how traumatizing some of the scenes would be.

      Like

  7. I read this one earlier this summer and ended up becoming so incensed at times that I ended up throwing my book across the room. Offred’s stilted narration and seeming acceptance of the way life turned out for her was too much for me. It was a good read and I recommend it. The story has stayed with me all summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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