Review of “The Handmaid’s Tale”

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A feminist, dystopian literary novel would be the simplest way to describe this book. But, in actuality, there is nothing simple about this book. The unraveling layers that unfold with each page diving into dynamics of our country’s societal evolution, our conceptions and misconceptions on love and devotion, the cause and affects of desperation on individuals vs a group. There are so many aspects of human nature that I’m left to ponder.
Though the book is fiction, the story is presented in a plausible light. However, one of the hardest pills for me to swallow is how the narrator describes people falling into the new regime of authority so quickly. Like a fertility farm, women are distributed to households according to their ability to bare children. Love is not considered a necessary means in this society. And, unmarried or divorced women are ripped from their children.
Though there are so many facets to this novel to discuss, the question that screams in my head – how can there be such a lack of love? If there is no love in procreating this barren society, then what is the point of living? If mothers’ children are stripped from their arms, how can these women breathe another breath with that kind of heartache? In her afterword, Atwood points out how unlikely, yet possible, an overtaking like this could happen even in a country like the United States. Similar hostile takeovers have occurred to other countries in history. Acknowledging that there is the possibility of that kind of hate to drive such a force is a scary enough thought to turn this literary novel into a thriller.


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  1. Christine says:

    I read the book as the series came out and everyone was talking about it. Atwood really fell into a disturbing and terrifying novel–and a somewhat prophetic or at least ominous future for us about complacency. The series made the subject matter all the more disturbing and real. I binge watched the TV series on an international flight and made it up to episode 10. I couldn’t take my eyes away.

    Feminist fiction is becoming a more prominent genre, which I love.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Christine! I actually haven’t seen any of the series yet, but I do have a lot of interest. Do you feel it follows the story well? I worry it would be disturbing to watch, especially at such a length of time invested, but I have to give it a chance first.
      Thank you again for stopping by!

      1. Christine says:

        The tv series is pretty disturbing to watch. I think it does a great job of showing the story. Like Orange is the New Black, though, eventually the series has to veer and grow.

        1. admin says:

          Oh, I know what you mean. I’ve been wondering how the show will evolve once it surpasses the book’s original timeline. I expect some variation and evolution, much like The Walking Dead had to do from the comics it followed.

  2. Having read this already I love your review and agree with you about the speed of acceptance but that under current of fear and not knowing who to trust played a part….Scary for me was those who thought it was the right way .Could it happen ? In some ways it already does. Thank you for choosing to follow my blog 😀

    1. Thank you for reading my review! Yes, it’s hard to tell how people will respond under such stress and fear. If it was motivation to see your children again, I could understand.
      Thank you for the comment!

      1. You are welcome, Ama… 🙂

  3. vkahleranderson says:

    Wow! The mere thought that my children would be ripped from my arms, that I’d be forever separated from them leaves me with chills! I don’t need that to happen to me to imagine the pain. Lately, reading on what is happening in our own precious USA brings this possibility to close to home.

    By the way, I love your description of this book, and how it made you feel. Thank you for sharing a possible read for me in the near future.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment! It is definitely a thought-provoking read, as well as sad and angering. I can see why it’s a classic and has been adapted into a series.

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