>>I will preface this post by saying that I had absolutely no idea this book was first published in 1986, until after I had finished it, That being said; this novel has held up tremendously, and shows that these fears emulated in this tale have been alive for many decades. I can certainly see why this has become a series (on Hulu, in case you weren't aware), and why it has regained so much traction and popularity in such a short time-span.
Let's get into the Review!
>>The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel that takes place in the Republic of Gilead, without giving too much away, basically this is what has become of America after the downfall of the entire Government and the total take-over of an extremist theocracy. During this time there are chemical/environmental outbreaks that causes mass-sterilization. Our protagonist, Offred: Of Fred - women are no longer called by their names, they are only referred to as "Of" and their Commander's name - is of health and age to become a Handmaid to Fred, her Commander. Yes, this means what you think it means; she is of the women they are using to attempt to repopulate. Women in the Republic of Gilead have no rights. An example: the women can leave once a day to walk to the grocery store (not using any money, as they are not allowed that luxury either), where the stores/products are only advertised in images, as women are not allowed to read,
This is a first-person narrative with somewhat of an unreliable narrator. There are heart-wrenching flashbacks, and subject matter of Offred's new life within this new America, that just rip you to shreds, and then there are moments of humor and the clarity that she is still the person she so desperately doesn't want to forget. Again, this is true evidence to the genius of Margaret Atwood to write with such jarring precision that it is absolutely relevant and startling 31 years later.
I did just finish this yesterday, and it is a bit hard to put sections of this work into words, as it is an extremely frustrating, yet, completely engrossing read. I would recommend this title but only with the clear warning that there are triggers, the most profound being rape and suicide. I feel that with the subject-matter and the landscape of the world we are currently living in; that if this does intrigue you then read it! I listened to this on Audible, I chose to purchase the one narrated by the lovely Claire Daines, and she did a superb job!
I gave The Handmaid's Tale ★★★★☆. This novel carries a 4.05 average rating on Goodreads, with 614,902 ratings! If you are still on the fence, I will point you again in the direction of Goodreads and the vast number of Reviews for this title. Scouring through some reviews will hopefully help you to gauge whether you want to pick up this particular book or not! I will say that I am glad that I read it, and I do plan to reread it. I cannot say that I have read anything like this, at the very beginning I was getting The Giver (by Lois Lowry), and The Village (the M. Night Shyamalan movie) vibes, however, those quickly went away,
Let me know in the comments below if you have read this and what your thoughts were!