Handmaid's Tale Paperback – 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Offred's somber tale describes a bleak situation that can be characterized as suffocating, lacking airiness. Her life is dreary and tedious, filled with obscure anguish. The overall theme is that women are helpless victims to men's schemes rooted in fascistic power structures legitimized by quasi-religious creeds and rituals. Instead of toeing the line, as she fails to conceive, Offred succumbs to her own need for emotional and physical diversion but these experiences only conspire to ensnare her rather than liberate. The last third of the book made it worthwhile for me but I thought the appendaged "Historical Notes" distracted from and complicated what would have been a furtively simple open-ended conclusion.
Religious fundamentalism, patriarchial oppression and political fascism are topics Atwood has woven into The Handmaid's Tale to interplay with a disconsolate feministic undertone.
Under the guise of religious salvation, the Gileadean regime builds a social structure that is rigid, oppressive, and above all, misogynistic. Women in Gilead, "two-legged wombs [...] sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices," are valued solely for their fertility. As complacency replaces the strong wills of the independent woman around Offred, her hope diminishes as well. In her horrifying tale, Margaret Atwood emphasizes the idea that the oppression on women in a totalitarian state is powerful enough to destroy the human will.
By exaggerating some existing misogynistic attitudes and intertwining them with an affecting plot and characters, Atwood finds similar success in her endeavors to shed light upon and caution against a horrific societal treatment of women. Although it's just as depressing as fellow dystopias 1984 and Brave New World, it's more beautifully written. Like the two other novels, however, it's frighteningly plausible and in some places feels all too familiar. I highly recommend this book to men and women. Read it even if you don't think it's "your type." This fascinating story is creative and in depth- it is not to be missed.
This book was very good. It was very interesting and thought provoking. I was so into it that I read it in only a few days. I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a good dystopian novel!
Most recent customer reviews
this book always makes me aware of how things could be ...l love itPublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
So glad I was able to repurchase this book as it too was stolen from my apartment. An awesome read. Makes you think about the reality of when ignorant people are in control. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Melanie Craig
I found the story very easy to " fall into". The idea of an extreme religious sect, ( or a group using religion as their excuse), getting power in North America doesn't... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chris Witham
A rather freighting dismal experience with regard to the situation in the Middle East. It is already happening there and I feel very uncomfortable with the possibility of it... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Janet Thibaudeau
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and can see why it is considered a classic. Although it has been categorized as futuristic-dystopian, I didn't find it too be at all depressing.Published 15 months ago by "Bomber"