The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Book - 2006
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Jan 21, 2021

A dystopian Novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, an interesting narrative tone is used to describe Offred and her life in Gilead, a fictional religious society, and the civil and feminists rights that are violated in this totalitarian nation. Atwood campaigns for Women's rights, drawing parallels to issues in modern society and providing a terrible vision of a world, were extreme politics have made ordinary female freedoms non-existent.

Jan 09, 2021

Good read.

Dec 22, 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, is a dystopian style novel where women have no rights and must abide by the rules of men. Offred, a handmaid, is placed in a home with a commander where she is used for her fertility to give the commander and his wife the child they are incapable of having. The Republic of Gilead has eyes on everyone and everything but many people will risk their life in order to escape into the normal world again. This book is great for those who like the reading about possible futures and new world ideas. It also captures readers' imaginations and may interest those who like the study of politics and culture. I enjoyed the dystopian aspect of this novel and how it used a totalitarian government in order to provide perspective on different political powers.

Dec 15, 2020

I read this book to fulfil the goal read a book with only images and no words on the cover (this wasn't the exact copy i had, but it is the same story.) It is like george orwell's 1984 which both bore me and scare me. I was planning to write a very negitive review. I found the book a little confusing and the characters unrelatable, and then the book ended. just like that. I was so surprised and upset. I discovered there is a sequel and i have to read it. so, yes, i guess i will call it a good book. it certainly sparked an emotion in me. It is #63 on Listopia's 300 books everyone should read once list. I say it deserves its place there, and as soon as i can i'm reading the sequel.

Oct 24, 2020

The hype was better than the actual story. It's a time passer, which is about the best thing I can say about it.

Oct 23, 2020

As a woman raised in Iran reading this book was very hard and constantly brought back painful memories. I had to get up and take walks or drink water at points while reading this book simply because flashbacks were too painful. I don't think a typical Canadian woman knows how close to reality this book is and will dismiss it as a purely dystopian fiction.
I recommend reading this book to any woman and I will tell them that a variation of events that happens in this book could very easily become reality one day. It happened in my home country; one day women had the right to choose their outfit and engage in any social activity that men participated. Three months later all of that freedom was gone and the ruling regime's ideal role for women was to be buried at homes never to come out and just produce and raise kids and satisfy men!

Oct 05, 2020

If you found yourself holding your breath while you turned pages and felt like The Handmaid's Tale was just a bit too apt for our time read It Can't Happen Here. Remember -- nothing Atwood wrote about in The Handmaid's Tale was really fiction. It has all happened in some form in some place at some time. You have to decide for yourself if it will happen here.

Sep 27, 2020

This was nearly a DNF. It was frustrating to read. I'm not a fan of Atwood it appears. I read this purely because I wanted to read the sequel, I can't see that happening any time soon.

Sep 16, 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel about a totalitarian patriarchal society in Cambridge, Massachusetts in The Republic of Gilead formerly known as the United States. In Gilead, women were stripped of all rights. Their sole purpose was reproduction. High ranking official couples that could not have children were assigned handmaids to conceive with the husbands so that the couple could have children. This novel is about Offred, short for Property of Fred, her life as a handmaid for Commander Fred and his wife. Before she was a handmaid, she, her husband, and their young daughter were caught escaping to Canada. Her husband was captured and never heard from again. Her young daughter was taken away by another woman. Offred was forced to become a handmaid. She often recalled the freedom she enjoyed before Gilead, her best friend in college and her family. It was a stark contrast from the totalitarian government she lived now.

This is a powerful book about human rights or lack thereof under a totalitarian government. Even high ranking officials like Commander Fred and his wife who supported the government seemed to seek freedom. The commander kept a private library while books were outlawed. His wife, a gospel singer before Gilead banned music, often hummed a melody when she thought no one was listening. No one could trust a neighbor or a friend because that person could be a spy for the government. It is disheartening that totalitarian government still exists and that there are many people who still live in an oppressed society today.

Aug 21, 2020

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel that follows a totalitarian state where women are deprived of all of their rights (read, write, own property or handle money). The main character, Offred, is one of the only remaining fertile women. Therefore she is forcibly assigned to produce children for the "Commanders" or the ruling class of men. The rest of the women are classed socially and are forced to follow a strict dress code.

The Handmaid's tale explores themes of subjugated women, and the various means by which women resist and attempt to gain independence. However, due to the explicit sexual content, this book is not suitable for people under the age of 15.

Aug 05, 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a funny, unexpected and horrifying story based on a female servant in the Republic of Gilead, Offred. Since this novel was so frightening and powering at the same time, it emotionally drained me. The handmaids present in this story have no free will, nor do they have any individualism, as if they are all treated as simple baby producing machines. Atwood does a great job of portraying women without power, and I feel this is still a topic that people need to educate themselves on. Even in this generation, I don’t quite understand why individuals find it so hard to normalize women in position of power. The Handmaid’s Tale shows that if we were to follow the chauvinist views of the old testament with fierce intensity, it would be sure that women would have no power at all. These views would be reinforced by complete cultural destruction, as well as lack of any form of self-expression. In this story, women are not allowed to read or write, not being able to speak their minds. Women are controlled in a way where they are forced to forget their pasts and put an end to any sense of personal affection. It was like an election, where sexism won, and women lost. It was disturbing to read about all the experiences Offred had to encounter, which is what made the novel so perceptive, provoking and dire. I would encourage anyone to give this one a read because you will be impressed! 4.5/5 stars
@Bookland of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

After continual recommendation, I decided to read Margaret Atwood’s famed The Handmaid’s Tale, a modern dystopian novel that simulates a society where women especially are categorized into separate roles, all of which are subservient to men. Offred is a 33-year-old woman who was once married with a 5-year-old child before the totalitarian government was formed, known as the Republic of Gilead. Offred is a Handmaid, a role that deems her a state-approved sex slave to an important man that she is assigned to. Her job is to act as a surrogate of sorts and conceive a child, as births rates have declined in Gilead. Told through the perspective of Offred, readers become familiar with the constructs of Gilead and the experiences of Offred. The Handmaid’s Tale is different from usual dystopian novels as the main character’s ulterior motive is not to escape or find a way to defy the rules of her government as an act of rebellion. The Handmaid’s Tale is an individual story of Offred, no one else, and her personal perception of the society. Atwood’s novel is a refreshing change from the monotonous sci-fi and fantasy books that flood the shelves. I give this book a 3.5/5 star rating and recommend it to readers ages 15+ as there are a lot of sexual descriptions and references.
@ilovefood of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Jul 15, 2020

I read this book mainly because I had heard so much hoopla about the TV series (which I never saw). I suspect this is one of those instances where the TV adaptation - due to a talented team of writers, actors, producers, etc.. - is better than the book. Atwood makes an interesting case for how it can happen that a traumatized - apathetic? - people allow their government to take away their freedoms. Particularly pertinent in today's post-911 (and now COVID-19!) environment. Interesting that Hollywood waited over 30 years to adapt it to the big screen. Probably a story in itself.

Jun 27, 2020

Did not read on tv

May 20, 2020

I am probably not the best person to review this book. I have not liked anything that Atwood has written since the Edible Woman. Back then she had a sense of humor.

Mar 27, 2020

This book is unique and is certainly one that even though I didn't enjoy it, it has left a mark on me. It is about a female living in a religious, totalitarian society where women are oppressed, that is the simplest summary I can give without giving too much away. I found that the book was quite dry and boring at times and there was very few exciting portions. I also really didn't like the protagonist, I'm sure Atwood tried to write her in a way to evoke sympathy from the reader, but I just couldn't sympathize. A friend of mine warned me that the ending of the book is very odd, but what I found personally is that the ending returned the book to my graces.

I also think one of the things that disappointed me about this book is that it is often compared to George Orwell's 1984, which caused me to expect too much from it. I also really disliked Atwood's style of writing, I found it hard to get through.

I would give this book a 2/5 rating.

Mar 24, 2020

Book Club

Mar 11, 2020

I read this book for category 24 "a book with a large cast of characters" for the 2020 Extreme Reading Challenge. I accidentally read Margaret Atwood's books out of order. I read The Testaments first, I'm glad I went back and read The Handmaid's Tale because it helped explain some things but still overall I didn't love it. My mind couldn't want to (didn't want to) wrap itself around such a dystopian future in which women had no rights. I really wrestled with this story. After thinking it over I felt convicted about how I take my rights foregranted in comparison to some of the situations women deal with in other countries.

Feb 21, 2020

The show was so good, the book was not. I only gave it the stars I did because the premise was good enough to churn out a good show. This book was a drag to get through. Nothing really added to the plot and when something finally exciting happens Boom! It’s the end of the book.

Feb 18, 2020

Okay - I love to read, but I am about 125 pages in on this book and still don't like it. I'm returning it to the library. I gave it one star because I find it boring.

Feb 07, 2020

I was hesitant to read this book since I have watched 2 of the 3 seasons on Hulu. This book read exactly as I remembered the first season, and overall was a quick/easy read. Given the horrible situation she finds herself in, I enjoyed the inner voice of the narrator - often sassy and witty. Honest and devastating. I enjoyed it a lot!

Feb 04, 2020

Brilliant writing, engrossing characters, especially the main character Offred. A must read for anyone who loves literature. And for all those who enjoy dystopian novels, this one shows the way, I'm sorry I didn't read it 35 years ago when it first came out.

Jan 17, 2020

I am embarrassed to say I actually wasted my time reading it.
Did the author's husband leave her for a younger woman? Why write this?

Dec 19, 2019

The dystopian story was quite fascinating. I never expected such ending. Interesting book to read.

AndreaG_KCMO Dec 09, 2019

I tried to avoid reviews prior to reading this myself, and I'm glad I began without specific expectations. The pace of the story resembles the nature of the narrator's new life: slow, careful, and restrained. This could have been challenging if not for the ongoing shock of setting details that kept me riveted from beginning to end. The epilogue addition left me with even more to think about. As many have noted, the subject matter is so relevant that the book could pass for a new release.

Oct 22, 2019

I'm re-reading this novel in preparation for her sequel, The Testaments. My sister gave this book to me as a young adult. When I finally read it, I was horrified! The novel has a ghoulish, other-worldly atmosphere that harkens to the Puritan culture of America's past (e.g. The Witch of Blackbird Pond) and their harsh ways. The setting is dystopian with hints that a major world war has occurred and the environment has become toxic. Since human population is decreasing due to nuclear fallout, young women who are fertile are in great demand to repopulate the earth. The caveat is: they have been turned into concubines for older married couples and forced into sex slavery to bear children for these chosen old fogies. Most of the time, the babies are stillbirth or genetically damaged. But the babies who are born normal get immediately removed from the young mother and given to the privileged, virtuous, older woman. Virtuous is defined as those who embrace the New World Order, which has become a Fundamentalist Christian nightmare! As a young woman, reading this story for the first time, I was beset with creepy dreams. 4 stars given instead of 5 for giving me creepy dreams! (less)

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