The Handmaid's Tale (Paperback)
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DescriptionIt is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed. Deserves the highest praise. -- "San Francisco Chronicle"
- Published: 01 April 1998
- Format: Paperback 320 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780385490818 ISBN 10: 038549081X
- Sales rank: 5,161
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Reviews for The Handmaid's Tale
B+ Classic...Unanswered Questions
Set in a futuristic dystopian society, The Handmaid's Tale follows the life of Offred, a handmaid within the Republic of Gilead. Under the rule of a theocratic military dictatorship, Offred and other fertile females, serve as baby makers, reproducing with the country's commanders and officers. Within this new society, men and women are treated differently, creating a hierarchy of the sexes, with the males of top. All women, with the exception of "The Aunts" (who serve as educators of a sort), are prohibited from reading and writing, and all forms of the written word has been replaced with drawings and images. Women such as Offred must also cover themselves by wearing modest clothing: too long and loose-fitting dresses that reach their ankles, gloves to cover their hands and head wings to prevent other from fully seeing their faces. Males and females are also prohibited from talking to one another, and handmaids are only allowed out in pairs. Offred doesn't care for the rules, and constantly dreams of the time from before, back when she was happily married and still had a daughter.
The Handmaid's Tale is a perfect dystopian novel. I loved how the whole idea of declining birth rates leading to a Christian-based dictatorship is actually a plausible event. What made the book so good (and scary!) was the fact that something like this is totally capable of happening (more or less).
I did however, find out I had a lot of answered questions when I was finished with the book (e.g. who killed the president, what happened to Offred, was she pregnant).
Read the rest of the review at:
http://anchoredinabook.blogspot.com/2014/05/keeping-it-classy-handmaids-tale.html by Kathleen Ramirez
- Top review
Review of The Handmaid's Tale
The place is Gilead. Religious fundamentalists are now in charge, but no fundamentalists like I've grown up knowing. Gone are the freedoms that women take for granted; their way of dress, owning a checking account and property, having a say over how their body is treated. Instead they are now placed into roles, the wives, the Marthas, the Handmaids.
This story revolves around Rachel, Jacob and Bilhah from Genesis. The use of Bilhah by Rachel and Jacob to give them children. But instead of being in ancient times it is now the future.
So many reviewers have pointed out that this is very similar to the treatment of women in other countries. It's a true observation and this book does a chilling job of putting the reader in one of those womens shoes.
As I read I could hear the voice of Offred in my mind. I could hear resignation, sorrow and a lack of hope. I could hear disbelief as she spoke of memories that were so distant from what she is living now that they seem unreal. I could hear frustration as she struggled to understand why rules and traditions were being changed.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I thought it might be too graphic, that I wouldn't be able to handle it. Atwood deals with the subject, as I'm learning she always does, with a respectful hand, laying the facts out without making them personal. It's that sense of detachment that struck home for me the most. I felt angry and scared while reading, my emotions making up for the seeming lack of emotion shown by Offred.
This is my second Margaret Atwood book. I'm hooked. Both this and The Robber's Bride have shown incredible character development and eye-opening scenarios to me.
What a disturbing, fascinating book this is. by Lydia Presley