Book Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

“The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you've been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil”

― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood wrote a future dystopian book titled The Handmaid's Tale, which was first published in 1985. It takes place in a near-future version of New England where the US government has been overthrown and replaced with a patriarchal, totalitarian theonomic state called the Republic of Gilead. The novel examines issues such as women's lack of agency and uniqueness in a patriarchal society, women's reproductive rights being suppressed, and the different ways in which women fight for their right to be unique and independent. 

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

My reaction to this novel...

I've had this novel for a while, but every time I try to read it, I'm never in the right frame of mind. Perhaps this is because the author doesn't always use quotation marks, which leaves me wondering who is speaking, so I give up after a few chapters. Nonetheless, I chose to read this after finishing The Grace Year since several people had drawn comparisons between the two books. I started to wonder why they made the comparison, and after reading some great reviews, I thought perhaps I might give this novel another shot. I also saw the first three episodes of the adaptation of the novel, and because I was unable to see the entire series, I made the decision that reading the novel would be a better option for me.

Although this is really my first novel by Atwood, I can already tell that I want to read more of her enormous body of work in the future. Her theories about parallel worlds and futures are both scary and fascinating. Although I occasionally thought she was ranting in this specific work, the way she writes is often extremely simple to read. Instead of babbling on topics we have previously read, she might have provided us with further information and understanding about society as a whole Additionally, it is annoying that she alternates between enclosing speech in quotation marks. She employed them in certain situations and not in others. I find it bothersome that all conversational phrases are not always included in quote marks because for me, it will help with readability by clearly delineating what is conversation and what is descriptive prose.

Having said that, I can state that the narrative is original to me. Additionally, I think that this might occur in the future since I think that things are becoming worse in our society, which makes it likely that anything like this could be carried out in this insane world. I just object to the way they cited some Bible texts since this book might lead people who are not familiar with the Bible to misunderstand it. I believe that utilizing Bible passages should be done cautiously since they are sacred and should have to be careful and honest while sharing them with others.

This book has left me feeling conflicted, so I'm not sure whether I should recommend it highly. However, I will say that the conclusion had me wondering what would happen to the main characters next, which piqued my curiosity. I still don't have the second book, but I'm looking forward to reading it.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨(3.5/5)


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