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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 Funny unexpected horrifying and altogether convincing The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire dire warning and tour de force


10 thoughts on “The Handmaid's Tale

  1. says:

    It's been almost five years since I wrote my review I've rewritten large parts of it for clarity The main idea remains the same Extremist Judeo Christian beliefs have won America's culture war Now women have no rights They are slaves to men and the biblical patriarchal society in which they live The Handmaid's Tale is the first person account of one of these enslaved womenMassachusetts Turns Into Saudi Arabia?More than thirty years have passed since The Handmaid's Tale was first published in 1985 but many still think of it as the go to book for feminist fiction It makes numerous best of lists the kinds with 99 other books everyone should read before dying Even so The Handmaid's Tale frustrates me a lot—and not only because it contains run on sentences and needlessly abandons uotation marks This is no train wreck like José Saramago's Blindness but it's bad enough Simply put if you can ignore whether you agree or disagree with Margaret Atwood's ideas about politics religion and women's rights the plot and setting make no senseThe religiosity of the Reagan era inspired Atwood's dystopia in which fundamentalist Christians have taken over society While that premise does give me the heebie jeebies Atwood’s taken the idea to a literal extreme to make a point This ruins the foundation of The Handmaid's Tale because most American fundies would balk at this world Atwood imagines the extreme of the extreme and in the process completely misunderstands American evangelicalism I'm a heathen bastard and no fan of religion Fundamentalism has hurt people particularly women for millennia Extremism continues to hurt people every day especially in some parts of the world especially in some states Even so it's hard to accept Atwood's dystopia when it's set in the US in the near future—and in Massachusetts one of the most progressive states in the country one of only sixteen states in the union with state constitutional protections for abortion since 1981 I believe Massachusetts is a liberal bastion when it comes to American women's reproductive rights so it's an odd setting for this brand of nightmare In recent decades Massachusetts is also one of the least religious states so it's an odd setting for a theocracy tooAtwood chose Massachusetts for its puritanical history I can embrace the connection to the Reagan administration in the same way I can embrace Orwell's fear of communism in 1984 but to imagine an unchanging puritanical Massachusetts reuires a bit too much Societies Don't Change OvernightThe Handmaid's Tale is told in first person by a woman who’s lived in our present day or less as well as in this dark fundamentalist Tomorrowland She’s gone from wearing flip flops and sundresses to a full body religious habit color coded red to match her subservient role She was married once had a child Now she’s another’s property one of the handmaids sent from one man’s house to another The hope is that she will become pregnant when a prominent man’s wife cannot Her life has been flipped and made forfeit She lives in fear and depression and abuse This is meant to make me unnerved and it doesButSimply because an author wants to comment on society doesn’t mean he or she can ignore important logical story elements The logic part should be emphasized here I think given this is supposed to be science fiction not fantasy Although Atwood does insist The Handmaid's Tale is speculative fiction because that further legitimizes her storyor something? Never mind that sci fi and fantasy are types of speculative fictionThere’s a uestion I have that never gets answered not properly at least How did this happen so uickly? How did we go from burning bras to having every part of our lives regulated? Why did it take Massachusetts decades centuries to reject puritanism but only a few years? to reject liberalism?Rights can erode but you don’t see it happen on such a large scale and so seamlessly and not overnight Nothing happens overnight especially not governmental takeovers in relatively stable secular societies which is the book's scenario Societies evolve one way or another usually rather slowly Civil moral and regime changes don't sneak up on you It wasn't the case in Germany before Hitler in China before Mao in Afghanistan before the Taliban in Syria before its civil war It's not the case in 2016 with people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump leading in GOP primary polls The world may be disappointing and horrible sometimes but it is rarely surprisingIf Atwood had built her dystopia on a chain of events that occurred over a longer period of time or explained how everything unraveled so uickly I might have been on board with the premise That isn't how The Handmaid's Tale is written though The explanations for the sudden changes are fantastical at best dependent on evil digitized money—be careful with the mobile payments and bitcoins ladies—and misogynistic conservative conspiracies that readers are to believe could bring millions of people to a stupefied halt and change culture in the blink of an eye view spoilerApparently it’s easy to gun down all of Congress while it’s in session Who knew? hide spoiler


  2. says:

    52219Looking back on my original review it reads as uaint compared to the draconian state laws recently being passed my state of Ohio being one of them Make no mistake this not about ‘life’ it’s about controlling women If you can’t decide what happens to your own body you do not have freedom This is about bodily autonomy Women have the RIGHT to legal and safe abortions with no ualifications The fact that the narrative has gone to ‘in cases of rape and incest’ is troubling Rapeincestlife of the motherhorrible birth defectsyou’re young single and not readyyou have five kids and can’t afford it doesn’t matter This is a medical procedure and pregnancy is a risky condition it can cause death Every woman has the right to decide whether or not they want to take that risk PeriodMen don’t have anything that compares to this No law is forcing them have vasectomies or even denying them their bonner pills7717 I'm just going to leave this here fuck Paul Ryan but not literally ew Sleeveless women? My stars and garters033117 So this Russia thing Am I right?2517just another giant step towards making this book a reality like they always dreamed ofOriginal review written in 2o12WARNING This review is being written after I worked a 13 hour day with another one on the horizon tomorrow and a glass of wine and while watching the Rachel Maddow show Current events have put this book on the forefront of my mind and damn it I got to get this out I have never written a review on The Handmaid's Tale because I love the book and it is so hard to write about a book you love Ehh what the hellOfFred was a normal everyday woman with a career a name a life like all women have come to expect and take for granted in this age When the Religious Right came into power they began to put into practice their insane beliefs which strip women of their identity their rights their body their very name Women are to be called Ofwhatever asshat they belong to instead of say Beatrix Reproduction is an issue because all the toxins in the environment have rendered many women infertile But if you are fertile woe to you you get to be a baby factory against your will get promised to some jerk you don’t love or even like because someone deemed him important enough to breed Oh come onThis book was written in 1986 FYI I thought it was scary and sort of possible when I first read it but farfetched This could NEVER happen in the United States of America Never would it be allowed to happen here we are too educatedSoI turn on the news in twothousandandfrikntwelve and certain religious factions on the right are trying to defund Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions which is only 3% of what they do with NO federal going towards them Mostly PP provides healthcare to women who wouldn't get it otherwiseicky poor women Now it’s birth control? Seriously? Birth control??????? Did I wake up in 1950? Am I stuck in a Atwood novel? 98% of Catholic women technically I’m one of them useused birth control Even they are asking WTF? I’m not sure what these people are trying to do There are women than men and we voteunless that’s the next right on the chopping block There have several updates to this review that I have removed to make room for the next what follows is the most recent one It’s been nearly a week since the unimaginable happened and I had to let the shock wear off before I could put a coherent non rage filled update on this review Not that I don’t have rage I have plenty to spare but I think it’s now at a level that is manageable enough for me not to just type out a string of obscenities That being said Update 111416 An unualified racist xenophobic sexist pathological liar psychopathic reality star was elected to be the 45th president of the United States and the leader of the free world FUCKThe United States has officially shat the bed Few foresaw it but in hindsight it was coming down the road for a very long time The United divided States voted for Hillary Clinton on whole popular vote by over 2000000 votes and counting millions are still out in California for example yet Donald Trump is our president elect gag due to an antiuated electoral college system which I could explain but I’m not because Google can do that better than I can Now I’m all for ditching the electoral college unless the electors decide to do what it was intended to do under this circumstance; to save us from ourselves See our founding fathers knew that we would fall for some con artist demagogue at some point in the future so they wisely created the electoral college a group of actual human beings trusted upon to stop such a calamity I implore the folks of current electoral college recognize this election as a collective loss of sanity of less than a uarter of the population of this nation and on December 19th put their votes towards the popular vote winner Hillary Clinton I realize that this is unlikely but one can dreamHow did this happen? There are many factors involved Lots of opportunity for pointing fingers and fighting amongst ourselves which I will admit to being a party toguilty But in my opinion what it boils down to is these four things Division misinformation apathy and fear of the ‘other’ Division We are all in our own comfortable bubbles digesting the information we are most comfortable with For example I never believed there was this much hate it this country because I didn't want to look at it; I knew it was there of course but not at the level that it appears to be Everyone wants to live where they feel they belong Amongst those that are like minded and reaffirm your very rightness Liberals don’t want to live in Indiana or Ohiosigh any than a conservative want’s to live in Washington state We even do this in our social media as well guilty again This is what messed us up with the electoral college Misinformation I am not going to tell you who’s right or wrong here I’ll let this study speak for itselfApathy HalfHALF the country didn’t vote You guys suckFear of the other This country harbors racism than I can comprehend The white people in this country seemed a little angry about the black man in the white house and the white men were staunchly determined not to have a woman white or not follow him I don’t mean all white men just too many of them chill “The advantage for Trump among men is larger than the 7 point advantage Romney had in 2012 and much different than in 2008 when men preferred Obama over McCain by a single point” PewResearchCenter But then there are the white women 53% went for Trumpoh my sisters I have no wordsWhich brings me to the reason why this update is relevant to this review and to this book for those who tell me that my opinion is unwarrantedagain Is the United States a racist country or a sexist country? America has spoken at least the ones who cared to speak and the answer is “a goodly amount of both” but in this election sexism won and women lost


  3. says:

    I guess Atwood doesn't believe in uotation marks I don't think I've ever come across a novel yet in which there is no distinction between the narrator and the character It took me uite a while to get used to that type of style of writing I had to go back and re read sentences again and again which doesn't really lend itself to a relaxing reading experience and it slowed me down uite a bitFirst 100 pagesReally annoyingwhy? well because I felt like a juicy bone was being waved in front of my face Like when someone asks you guess which celebrity died today? and you ask who? and they say well why don't you guess? and you answer I don't know I give up just tell me and this keeps going back and forth back and forth and finally you just want to say forget it it's not even worth it and walk away That's how I felt reading this book Kinda like Atwood was being childish about withholding the plot information because it gave her literary power and control over the reader and keeps them hostageThen I couldn't ignore this overwhelming feeling that the philosophy of this story was going to be something that didn't sit well with me However I slowly realized it was just a typical novel with no outstanding profundity whatsoeverOne of the reasons I despise contemporary literature and basically ceased reading it years ago is because contemporary writers almost always almost 100% of the time revert to the all essential shock value elements what I like to call the cheap grabber In the back cover of The Handmaids Tale it goes on to say Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chillingblah blah blahhhhhh and let me just state that I noticed the review by Newsweek long after I had already started reading the book It was probably noticed during one of those moments of frustration where I single handedly flipped the book around wondering whatthefuckingfuck?I'll give you a perfect example of how she used this trendI'm reading about women in habits who seem to be pious and obedient living in the Republic of Gilead They walk with their heads bowed down two by two whispering words to each other such as blessed be may the Lord Open and I receive with joy And this goes on say for about 100 pages or so Then suddenly out of the blue you read He's fucking me Now it's not that I don't like the word fuck In fact I LOVE the word fuck Not as in I like to fuck but as in Fuck my food is burning or Fuck I got my period on the mattress again So it's not like I'm a fuck prude cause I'm not It's just that it didn't seem to fit in with the theme of the book and it was cheaply thrown in for shock value to keep up with the trend Now can anyone sit there and tell me Atwood couldn't have better and elouently described that scene? Halfway through the book I stopped and assessed what I had gotten from it so far still nothingIt certainly had moments of intrigue I give it that much Of course it had to have had intrigue because it's a pretty popular book But Atwood's writing from the beginning is so flawed It's as if it went straight from her hands to publishing without being proof read or editedI'm not a writer but I am a reader and I think I'm certainly capable of recognizing whether a book flows or not and this book just doesn't flow at all And what pisses me off the very most is that Margaret Atwood is presently supposed to represent one of Canada's top leading modern authors Just because a book sells a lot doesn't mean suat It's just a trend a fad It's like when The Philadelphia Inuirer stated that PUSH a novel might find a place in the African American Literary canon I was like WHAT?? are you kidding me? that shit? no effin way no Look at The Davinchi Code Yes I enjoyed the novel a lot but I also recognize that Dan Brown probably won't be included as part of the American literary canon in 100 years eitherMargaret Atwood in my humble opinion is not the greatest of writers I've seen reviewers on goodreads who are better at writing than she isThe only decent thing about this novel was the story line and even that seemed like Daniel Steel fluff Oh and the other thing that got me was that the entire female democracy has fallen apart and all Of Fred could think of was her need to have sexual intimacy with a man Not to mention that she never seemed appropriately upset about the fact that her husband and daughter have been taken from her Has Maragaret Atwood ever seen the Movie Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze? The wolverines? c'mon manThe other major problem with this novel is that there were so many uestions unanswered What political reason behind the president day massacre? Who were these people? why were women targeted? Why didn't women and their men fight back? Those are uestions I'm asking just to humor the book At this point the book was so leaky that It's not even worth asking uestions about because there aren't any answers I thought this book was going to have some psychological depth but to me it was just like reading a cheap novel I can go on and on about other things that make this not a great novel but it's not even worth itI'm extremely disappointed I thought this was going to be one of the good onesUpdated I'm currently watching the Handmaids tale on Hulu and it's one of the best shows I've ever watched aside from breaking bad


  4. says:

    I’ve been moved by books in the past many times but I’ve never before read a book that has emotionally drained me to such a degree This is frightening and powerful And sometimes it only takes a single paragraph to make you realise how much so “Yes Ma’am I said again forgetting They used to have dolls for little girls that would talk if you pulled a string at the back; I thought I was sounding like that voice of a monotone voice of a doll She probably longed to slap my face They can hit us there’s Scriptural precedent But not with any implement Only with their hands” Needless to say this is an absolutely awful situation From the very beginning I knew how much I was going to like this book Its story isn’t one that it is simply read it demands to be heard It beckoned me to see the full force of the situation The Handmaids the average woman have no free will or individualism; they are treated as simple baby producing machines An oppressive regime is forced upon them and to deviate from the said standard results in a slow and agonising death There’s no hope or joy for them only perpetual subjugation Indeed this is where Atwood’s awe inspiringly persuasive powers reside By portraying such a bleak situation she is able to fully demonstrate what life could be like if we suddenly followed the misogynistic views of the old testament with fierce intensity Women would have no power whatsoever This would be reinforced by a complete cultural destruction and lack of any form of self expression They would not be able to read or write; they would not be able to speak their minds It would even go as far as to condition them so powerfully that they completely lack the ability of independent thought And to make it even worse the women know no difference Sure the narrator of this remembers her past but she’s not allowed to She is forced to repress any sense of individual sentiment “But who can remember pain once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow not in the mind even in the flesh Pain marks you but too deep to see Out of sight out of mind” The narrator has a horrendous ordeal in an eually as horrendous world The notion was devised as a response against a drastic decrease in birth rates Men in power have taken complete control of women in both body and mind to insure an increase in the declining birth rates As I mentioned their individualism is repressed but the men also prevent any physical freedom The women are owned by the state by the men and by corruption; their bodies are nothing than a means to provide new life In this they are degraded to a state of sub human existence; they are no longer people Atwood suggests that they are merely a reproductive organ one that can be discarded without thought mercy or conscience This is reinforced on every level; the language delivers this on a revealing scale The names are suggestive of the oppression; the protagonist is called “Offred” She is of Fred she belongs to him The women are assigned names that are not their own; they are dubbed with the disgusting title of “Handmaiden” By doing so they are left with very little of their former lives The women are simply objects to be used controlled and destroyed and the slightest hint of nonconformity to such an absurd system But here’s the rub The best and most haunting thing about this novel is its scary plausibilityThe culture created is evocative of one that could actually exist The way the men attempt to justify its existence is nothing short of terrifying They make it sound perfectly normal Well not normal but an idea that could be justified to a people Not that it is justifiable but the argument they present has just enough eerie resemblance to a cold logical response to make it seem probable in its misguided vileness The totalitarian elements provide an image of a people that will do endure anything if they’re provided with a glimpse of liberty The small degree of liberty the Handmaids think they have doesn’t actually exist it’s an illusion a trick a shadow on the wall They’re manipulated into believing it and become frenzied in the face of it It is the ultimate means of control in its nastiness “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere as long as it stays inside the maze” This book was horrifying and strangely perceptive If you’re thinking about reading this stop thinking just read it It’s brilliant It’s a book I will definitely be reading again because it is just so thought provoking and disturbingYou can connect with me on social media via My Linktree


  5. says:

    There are only a small handful of books that have affected me in a REALLY personal way In a way that I always try to put into words and always ultimately fail I have read a lot of books over the years and I've liked many disliked plenty too loved and hated a smaller amount but out of the thousands I've read there's less than ten maybe even less than five now I think about it that honestly hit me so hard that I would go so far as to say they changed me The Handmaid's Tale is a book that changed my lifeI know I know big dramatic statement to make I hear you And normally I wouldn't say that even about books I give five glowing stars; but with this book it is nothing short of the truth This book was the spark that turned me into a feminist It was the spark that made me interested in gender politics and through that politics in general One of my favourite teachers in the world gave me this book and said I think you'll like this oneShe was so wrong I didn't like this book; I loved it And I hated it I lost sleep over it I lived in it I was so completely absorbed into this world into this dark but oddly uiet dystopian reality There is something about the tone of Atwood's novels that works like a knife to my heart uiet rich the drama just bubbling under the surface of the prose Atwood doesn't waste words she doesn't sugarcoat her stories with meaningless phrases everything is subtle and everything is powerfulThis dystopia is a well told feminist nightmare An horrific portrait of a future that seems far too reminiscent of aspects of our own society and its very real recent history The best kind of dystopian fiction is for me that which convinces me this world might or could happen Atwood's world building may be sparse and built up gradually as the story unfolds but she slowly paints a portrait of stifling oppression and injustice that had me hanging on her every wordFor someone like me who was so caught up in Offred's experiences this book was truly disturbing In the best possible way There are so many themes and possible interpretations that can be taken from this book plenty of which I've literally written essays on but I'll let new readers discover and interpret the book for themselves I will issue you one warning though the ending is ambiguous and puts many people off the book But for me it's one of the very few cases where an open ending has worked 100% It made the story even powerful in my opinion and guaranteed I would never be able to forget Offred and indeed this whole book “We were the people who were not in the papers We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print It gave us freedom We lived in the gaps between the stories” Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr


  6. says:

    edited from a paper I wrote in college about the bookIn 1986 when Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale Ronald Regan had declared “Morning in America” and society was going to renew itself by returning to the old values The Christian right in its infancy at the time was rising in reaction to the Free Love and the horrors of AIDs The 1984 election gave us Willie Horton and a reminder about how violent and evil society had become Finally even though Chernobyl happened shortly after the book was published the Union Carbide disaster in Bopal India was still fresh in the headlines—a reminder that even the air is not safe It was not hard at the time to extrapolate the ultimate end that this cocktail of fundamentalism conservatism violence disease and disaster would bring but what Atwood could not know is how much of her novel would become reality in the worldAmazingly twenty years after it was written there are elements of the story that have become true—perhaps not in the United States where the story takes place but throughout the world The most obvious first connection is with many of the issues regarding women’s rights and religious fundamentalism that are taking place in the Middle East It was shocking to read in the book that the initial attack on the US Government was blamed on Islamic Fundamentalists though the story was written after the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing and the massacre at the Rome airport While this kind of terrorism was only in its infancy Atwood’s insight is almost prophetic in the book When the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed the initial reaction by the media was to blame Islamic terrorists when in fact—like the novel—the terrorism was homegrown The scale of the attack that took out the US Government in the novel is also eerily similar to the attacks of September 11 2001 Reading this novel in the post 911 world can send chills down one’s spine the novel includes suicide bombings at checkpoints restrictions of rights in the name of safety blind patriotism and an overwhelming belief that there is only one true religion and deviants from this should be killedWhile George Orwell’s 1984 is often referred to as an insightful perspective on modern society whenever someone puts a video camera on a street lamp or the government begins referring to negative events with positive doublespeak Orwell’s world never materialized in full and likely never will materialize to the degree he created Instead it is Atwood’s distopia seemingly outrageous at the time it was written that became reality This novel should serve as a cautionary warning about the result of any extremist view taken to its logical conclusion—the Taliban is proof that society cannot dismiss the notions of this book as outrageous and extreme They have proven in the last decade a plausible end to the error of letting fundamentalism in any form guide one’s society


  7. says:

    Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is a tale of terror as well as a warning The dystopian future she describes in Gilead which appears to be centered in Boston due to the reference to Mass Ave and the town of Salem is chillingly misogynistic where women are reduced to strict categories Martha for housework and cooking Jezebels easy to guess right? Eyes Angels soldiers for the state infertile Wives and potentially fertile Handmaids It is beautifully written with lots of flashbacks of Offredthe protagonist's name of how things devolved into the horrors of her present It is disturbing because it exposes the politics of reproduction and male sexuality taken to extremes of violence that are shocking and yet probably seemed one possible future during the Reaganite 80s when she wrote the book and now feel like the world of which Michael Pence in particular and perhaps Paul Ryan but most definitely Steve Bannon must dream Could things so change as uickly as she describes in the book? Let us hope not #resistIt is certainly the most explicitly feminist dystopian book I have ever read It was thought provoking cover to coverAll in all a very well written feminist text that should serve as a clarion call for defending women's rights to maintain control over their own bodies and lives now and foreverJust found this article about my last point hereDrumpf's sexist violent tweet against Morning Joe and the escalating attacks against reproductive freedom are moving the American experiment dangerously towards Atwood's Gilead #resistApparently there are also changes at the CIA that bring the spectre of Gilead a little closer In another note I just got Mona Eltahawy's Headscarves and Hymens which is also on subjectAny of my review readers want to tell me whether the Hulu show about this book is worth my time or not?UPDATE I have watched the first two seasons of the Hulu series and am hooked That being said I have watched 5 episodes of S03 and been disappointed For those who may not know only S01 is based on the book The other two seasons are new writing but with Margaret Atwood supervising the writer's roomI am uite interested to know if anyone has already read the seuel that was just published in September 2019?


  8. says:

    Consider this not a ground breaking work of literature Consider this not a piece of fiction boasting an avant garde mode of narration Consider it not a commentary on the concept of subjugation of the weak by the ones holding the reins Consider it not a thinly veiled feminist diatribe eitherInstead consider The Handmaid's Tale an almost physical experience Consider Margaret Atwood a fearless deliverer of unpleasant news a messenger unafraid of dishing out the bone chilling cruel unaltered truth and nothing but the truthMove over Bram Stoker Move over HP Lovecraft Fade away into oblivion Edgar Allan Poe Disappear down the depths of obscurity Stephen King Your narratives are not nearly as coldly brutal your premonitions not nearly as portentous Because Ms Atwood presents to us something so truly disturbing in the garb of speculative fiction that it reminds one of Soviet era accounts of uotidian hardships in Gulag labour camps Speculative is it?Aren't the Offreds Of Fred Ofglens Of Glen Of warrens Of Warren of Gilead euivalent to the Mrs So and So s of the present reduced to the identity of their male partners? Isn't the whittling down of a woman to the net worth of her reproductive organs and her outer appearance an accepted social ? Isn't blaming the rape victim causing her to bear the burden of unwarranted shame and social stigma a familiar tactic employed by the defense attorney?Hasn't the 21st century witnessed the fate of Savita Halappanavars who are led to their untimely deaths by inhumane laws of nations still unwilling to acknowledge the importance of the life of a mother over her yet unborn child?Doesn't the 21st century have materially prosperous nations governed by absurd archaic laws which prohibit a woman from driving a car?Doesn't the world still take pleasure in terrorizing activists like Caroline Criado Perez with threats of rape and murder only because they have the audacity to campaign for female literary icons Jane Austen to become the face of Britain's 10 pound note?Do I not live in a country where female foeticide is as normal an occurrence as the rising and setting of the sun?Are we still calling this speculative fiction?Some may wish to labour under the delusion that the women belonging to this much vaunted modern civilization of ours are not experiencing the same nightmare as Offred and are at perfect liberty to do what they desire But I will notBecause when I look carefully I notice shackles encircling my feet my hands my throat my womb my mind Shackles whose presence I have become so used to since the dawn of time that I no longer possess the ability to discern between willful submission and conditioned subservienceBut thankfully enough I have Margaret Atwood to jolt me back into consciousness and to will me to believe that I am chained bound and gagged That I still need to break free I thank her for making me shudder with indignation revulsion and righteous anger I thank her for causing bile to rise up my throat And I thank her for forcing me to see that women of the present do live in a dystopia like Offred's United States of America We just prefer to remain blissfully blind to this fact at times Disclaimer I mean no disrespect to the other writers mentioned in this review all of whom I have read and deeply admire


  9. says:

    I NightI am lying awake in my bed I keep my eyes closed and beg sleep to come Fruitlessly Outside the rain is whipping the windows without mercy My husband is sleeping next to me oblivious to my struggle I need my thoughts to go away I need to forget that I just finished the Handmaid's Tale and its effect on me I knew I should have resumed myself to the self imposed daily uota of 10% But no I had to read the last 30 % in one go and now I can't sleep because of it It’s like a shot of caffeine to my veins How can I review such a book? How can I explain how I feel? I don’t even know I can't say I enjoyed it I was both dreading and expecting to open the pages I wanted it to be over like I want a punishment to be over It made me choke; I was uncomfortable and in pain the whole 312 pages However I was also in awe to the power and poetry of Atwood's writing The last novel they made me feel this way was Never Let Me Go I can still smell the heavy the heavy atmosphere Submission This is it Both were about submission to a terrible destiny I could not understand and accept it then and I cannot do it now Or can I? What would I do to survive if submission were the only hope? There is a knot in my throat What she wrote in this novel the world she created is absurd isn't it? It cannot happen not in a million years right? We are past this we have evolved enough We cannot get there It would be terrible unthinkable It is absurd to think that people’s will can be so easily obliterated that minds can be erased and that fear can rule one’s life into submission And still Kim Jung Un in Korea Putin in Russia recently the election in Turkey Trump is just as dangerous Le Pen can become the next president in France Yes the daughter of the man that said that Holocaust did not exist The world is a dangerous place and freedom is fragile We need to open our eyes be vigilant and never be complacent with what we have so it is not taken from us I still cannot sleep The rain becomes even punishing My mind races I think about the past of my country In the end of the novel at Historical Notes there were a few examples of other similar regimes that reacted as Gilead It said that Romania has anticipated Gilead in the eighties by banning all forms of birth control and imposing other restrictions How I wished this was also part of the author’s imagination Ok there were no compulsory pregnancy tests and promotion did not depend on fertility but a decree was passed by Ceausescu our last communist president where all birth control and abortion was banned The punishment for not complying was severe; women were imprisoned and beaten to confess During the 20 years when the decree was in place than 10000 women died from illegal mostly home made abortions Another world where men controlled women’s body Not so long ago We cannot go back to that can we? Motherhood Another hurtful subject To have your child taken away from you To be unable to have a child and have your husband conceive with someone else while you watch A nightmare for any woman or man No love no sex for pleasure No here I draw the line I cannot see this happen And still Historical NotesThe above memoir of a distressed reader that could not sleep because of the Handmaid’s Tale was found in the notes of a mobile phone It is hard to identify the person that wrote the document as there were probably many people that lost sleep over this novel in Atwood’s republic She tends to write some uncomfortable stuff that author We cannot confirm the authenticity of the document still the disturbed tone suggests that the person actually read the Handmaid’s Tale and was deeply impressed by it And scaredPS I found in another review an interesting article wrote by Atwood where she discusses the book


  10. says:

    What a perfect time to be scared to death by this novel It doesn't feel dated or far fetched at all thanks to President TrumpClaire Danes is a pretty good match for this narrativeOriginal reviewImagine the near future where power is overtaken by the religious right under the guise of protection from Islamic terrorism Imagine the future where the roles of the women reduced to those assigned to them in Old Testament they are no longer allowed to read work own property or handle money Imagine that due to the pollution and man created viruses the fertility rates are so low that the few fertile women the Handmaids are now a communal property and are moved from house to house to be inseminated by men of power under the watchful eye of their wives Imagine the future where women can only be the Wives domestics the Marthas sexual toys the Jezebels female prison guards the Aunts wombs the Handmaids or if they are unsuited for any of these roles Unwomen who are sent off to the Colonies where they harvest cotton if they are lucky or clean out radioactive waste if they aren'tWell after you've imagined that you can imagine very easily how much I was terrified by this book As a modern woman I am horrified by the notion that at some point in time I can become nothing than a servant a toy a reproductive organ The world created by Atwood seems too much of a stretch of imagination at a first glance but if the current climate how implausible this feminist dystopia really is? To say I am impressed by this novel is to say nothing really This book is one of those that stays in your brain and you keep coming back to it over and over again Having said that I have to note that this is definitely not an easy read Offred the protagonist Handmaid is in many ways a frustrating narrator she is broken she is passive she is desperate and her only goal is to make it through another day The ending is ambiguous The narration is complex with constant switching from present to past and back But it all worked perfectly for me For me The Handmaid's Tale is a powerful novel that is in my mind next to Saramago's Blindness another book that left me sleeplessReading challenge #22