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.
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!
THE HANDMAID'S TALE is a frightening look at a not too distant future where sterility is the norm, and fertile woman are treated as cattle, to produce children for the upper class who cannot have any. The narrator Offred, as she is called in her new life, is the Handmaid for a top Commander in the new government. Once a month she is tested by a gynecologist to ensure that she is healthy, and then is taken to the Commander and his wife in the hopes of becoming pregnant.
Offred, along with the other handmaid's, are not allowed to look directly at anyone else. They all wear the same outfits; red long dresses and headgear that cover their bodies. They live together, spend most of their time together, and are taken care of, in the hopes that they will produce children for this barren society. In this society, most women are not allowed to read, and are treated as if they have no minds. The government dictates their role in society. If they disobey, they are punished severely.
Offred's memories often go back to a time when she was happily married to Luke, and with their daughter they were looking forward to a long and happy life together. Things changed when a military group took over the government, and immediately their lives as they knew it were over. Women lost all rights to ownership; bank accounts were frozen, land was taken away; fertile women were taken away from their husbands and families. A handful of older women were made into 'Aunts', and their duties were to instruct and guide the handmaids, reminding them of their role on this earth, which is to procreate.
I have to say that my feelings during this book were of shock.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This was a Bookclub selection and you either like Margaret Atwood or you don't and I am one of the latter.iPublished 4 months ago by linda jackson
I'm not a dystopian reader normally but I loved this classic Margaret Atwood book. Recommended to everyonePublished 4 months ago by Christine
this book always makes me aware of how things could be ...l love itPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 9 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 20 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 20 months ago by "Bomber"