“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

Star Rating: 3 and a 1/2 out of 5 Stars ☆☆☆ ½


Synopsis:  In the not-too-distant future, the United States has fallen to a radical Christian Fundamentalist group, and is remade into the extremely theocratic Republic of Gilead.

Offred (literally “of Fred”, her name is not a name – but a way to distinguish her as to who she belongs to) is a handmaid.  A handmaid is a woman who, in Gilead, is  someone who is capable of giving birth.  Sexually-transmitted diseases have claimed the fertility of many women, and so the women who are still fertile are relegated to being the concubines of the men in charge of the society.

Offred had a life before Gilead. She had a husband and a child. But she was caught when trying to flee the country and separated from her famiy. Now she is a slave to “The Commander”.   Her job is to birth his children, through a process called “the ritual”, in which both the Commander and his barren wife engage in trying to repopulate society.

Offred has no rights.  She has no freedom.  But, she remembers the days when she did. And she longs for the ability to go back.  Simple pleasures such as reading are now denied to her.  She is nothing but a walking baby factory.

Those who defy the government are rounded up and hung publicly for the rest of society to witness, as a scare-tactic.  Even so, a rebel group called “MayDay” has risen in secret among the ranks of those in Gilead.

Offred no longer has her husband. She no longer has her daughter. She no longer has her own name. All she has are the memories of her past… memories of freedom… and fear that one day she will be killed for them.

Opinion:  There are so many books that I have read previous to this blog that I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing. This is one.  I figured with the release of the television version by Hulu, it was time to catch up!

A sordid tale of what our society could become should we let the zealots take charge. It’s a terrifying glimpse into a reality that is entirely plausible. That is why this book is so scary, and has left its mark with so many readers over time.

This is a compelling story of a woman conflicted between her past and her present, desperately grasping at straws, hoping that her life wasn’t going to end as a sex slave.  Reading this, as a woman, was doubly horrific.  Not only because of the things Offred endures, but also because we know it’s not far off from reality… what has been and what could still be.

Overall, the book hits its mark.  I just wasn’t impressed with Atwood’s writing.  It was dull and dragged at times.  With such an amazing plot to work with, there could have been so much more! I know many authors who could have taken this and made it into an addictive page-turner – and maybe even have expanded it beyond just one book.  Atwood couldn’t.  I was bored.  I shouldn’t have been bored with this type of tale!  Just bad writing.

The story was great. I just wish it had been written with more skill.  I’m looking forward to seeing the series. Perhaps, if done well, it will make up for what the book lacked.  Here’s the preview for all of you who are interested!

Goodreads Link: “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

Amazon.com Link: “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood