Publisher: Fawcett Books
Published: December 12th 1986 by Fawcett Books
Genres: Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
My Rating: 5 sold Stars
A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.
Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.
I had heard a lot about this story recently because of the upcoming Hulu show. Also, it’s a Dystopian novel, and with the current culture of the universe, dystopian novel recommendations are all over my facebook feed. So I picked bought it with my March audible credit and listened to the narration by Clare Danes.
What I loved about this book is that Offred isn’t a Katniss. She isn’t the person who “takes down” the man. She’s a cog in the world; she doesn’t fight the power. She wants to, but she doesn’t know what to do and is afraid that if she steps out of line, she will die, or her daughter will be killed. She follows the rules for the most part. She does what she’s told. I’ve read so many dystopian novels where a 17-year-old girl overtakes the government that having a woman that works against the system in a different way was refreshing and different.
This book is terrifying. The things that humans are capable of are terrifying. This book is about 30 years old, and there are times when you read a book that “old” if feels dated, watching movies from the late eighties feel and look dated, but this book has the feel of a story that fits directly into the current time line.
From what I’ve seen on Goodreads, this book has an odd formatting, but I loved listening to it. Claire Danes doesn’t do crazy voices but does change her tone when she talks different characters words.
Overall, I believe this book is up with 1984 for best dystopian novels that I’ve read. Definitely worth reading (or listening to if you’re into that). It made my long car rides back and forth to work bearable.
Until next time Internet,