Dystopian Masterpiece: The Handmaid’s Tale – A Book Review

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. -Description from Amazon –

One of the best dystopians I have ever read

And I’ve read a lot of dystopians.

Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.

Addiction to dystopian novels is a serious thing, as evidenced by my shelf full of them. I have a fondness for the study of things gone wrong, of roads to hell paved with good intentions, of our adaptive nature in unexpected circumstances.

As Offred dons her red tented dress and white head wrap to hide her face, so do I. I walk with her to the market where pictures have replaced words – as women no longer need to read, witness her transformation from wife and mother to breeding stock, watch as she tries to accept the new world – after all, does she have a choice?

Offred’s story is frighteningly real, a future you can imagine taking place after a few twists of fate. Most terrifying is the realization that Offred could be you.  That the world can falter in so devastating a way that you should have seen coming, but are powerless to stop. Submit, transform, fall in line. But how much can you take? How much can you lay witness to without breaking? And how can you possibly fight back in a world that has taken all your weapons?

Offred’s only value is her fertility. No friendships. No reading. No way out. How much will she risk to break the rules?

Atwood’s writing is like reading the diary of an old friend. A comparison between old recollections and new rules lays the foundation for a world accessed easily by an open page which I was unable to stop turning.

Ready to experience this dystopian for yourself? Meet Offred by clicking the cover:

Thank you to Resh at The Book Satchel blog, who first introduced me to this book on her post entitled A Must-Read Dystopian Books Checklist for 2016 – be sure to check it out if you’re in the mood for more dystopians!

10 out of 10

Good Things

  • Fantastically portrayed characters
  • Realistic world building
  • Gorgeous writing

Bad Things

  • None! Go read it!

The Breakdown

Writing Style

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  1. Bex

    Thank you for the kind and thoughtful words! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, nice to know the hard work pays off 🙂

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