"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

20 July 2014

2014 Book Review #28: The Handmaid's Tale

My 21 year old, about to be a senior in college, recommended I read this book. She read it for a Women's Lit class last year.  It's a bit "science fiction" but it's more of a dystopian novel. In fact, let's pray the events portrayed in this book just never happen....let's pray our government never gets to this point. This is also a bit of a feminist novel....and a little creepy.

But..the story just unfolds and although bizarre, I was drawn in. I figured out almost right away (with no help from Courtney) about the names given the women. I won't tell you as I don't want to ruin the plot line for you. At that point, I was totally creeped out.


Offred lives in the Republic of Gilead.  She is a Handmaid.  She remembers the years before being a Handmaid...the years with her husband Luke and their little girl. These memories are interspersed throughout the story.

She is allowed to leave the home of the Commander and his Wife only once a day and only to go to the market to buy food.  The markets are only identified by signs, not words, because now, women are no longer allowed to read.  
Once a month, she has to lie on her back and hope that the Commander will get her pregnant.  It is her job.  In this age of declining births, it is the Handmaids' duties...and they are only valued for their ovaries.  All of them hope and pray they are viable.  She used to have a real job, with real money of her own, and access to knowledge, education, news.  All of that is now gone.  She makes friends with other Handmaids. But are they really friends?  She learns that one friend, from her other life, is also a Handmaid. But this friend "escapes". How?? And will Offred be able to escape??


Wow.  That's all. When I got to the end of this book, all I said was Wow.  And I was stunned by the ending.  I can't tell you how it ends.  But you will be stunned.

I loved that there were historical notes by the author in the back.  They were fiction, as well. 

It is a brilliant piece of literary art.

In my opinion, this book is only appropriate for ages 18 and older (due to the plot line and disturbing scenes). I've heard it is a movie. I hope it's rated R at least.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.


Susanne said...

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author but I have not read any of her works. I am so not into dystopian tales so this one probably won't make it to my pile.

Faith said...

Susanne, I didn't think i was either but it was incredible!!!! disturbing in many ways, but incredible. then again she wrote it in 1986...and so far our world is ok. LOL

Deb said...

I have seen this book on the shelves of our high school library and have almost checked it out several times. I may read it at some point, but right now, like Sue, dystopian novels are not my thing. Your recommendation is quite persuasive, however, so I may give it a try!

Joyful said...

I didn't care for it at all. The language was too offensive throughout much of the story. I am not a sci-fi fan either though. That should have been my first alarm but it was on my classics list and I have only quit one book.

Faith said...

The language?? I didn't see any bad swearing in my edition!! Although some of the scenes portrayed were disturbing.