The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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 fertility, 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…

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book may have been written over 25 years ago, but as of today it’s story is still extremely believable en eerily realistic. It’s a gripping story and the realistic feeling of the book is what makes it such a good book!

The main character, Offred, is a Handmaid, a woman who is in the household to get pregnant so she can ensure offspring for the couple she lives with. This involves doctor visits and a monthly ‘session’ with the Commander, on a specific date to ensure the best chance of the Handmaid getting pregnant, while his wife looks on and tries to ignore or push her thoughts out of her own mind knowing that she cannot bare children herself. Handmaids have no choice in the matter and are to do as the rules say, so they can stay where they are instead of being sent out to work in the Colonies to clean up the pollution, most likely killing them. It’s picking the lesser of two evils. If you have read the book “The Red Tent”, you will see in this book how much this story resembles the acts of the people in this book. Their beliefs are quite the same as Rachel’s mail Bilhah being offered to Jacob to bear children for them.

It made me realize how much freedom we have right now, and how much we actually take for granted. Women’s rights are quickly stripped away from the characters in the book and they are being used as “property”, unless it involved one of the elite women, who of course, had more rights. Women have few rights, if they have any in the book, and it may sound hard to believe, but Atwood has a certain talent of writing it in a way that’s incredibly believable.

I have to admit that I have a really hard time putting my thoughts on this book into words. It’s a gripping story, compelling, realistic, and very well written. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a story that may introduce you to an adult dystopian novel, without travelling too far away from the YA genre or reading about less realistic societies.The Handmaid’s Tale is a story that will stick with me, gruesome as it is, and it has made me curious about her other dystopian novels!

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