Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is the last book out of the 4 that my media teacher gave to me, only a few weeks ago. I don’t know what made me leave this until last, maybe it was the fact that I had never heard of it before, unlike the others, or that it looked like a wedge of words to read; a big commitment to make. However, it seems to me  that the phrase “saving the best ’til last” is entirely fitting for the given context.

I knew nothing of this novel before picking it up. The back cover gave no hints to the overview or plot line and I was hesitant to start it, once worried that it may just pass me by and be a waste of time. Once I had decided to start the first section, though, I became entirely intrigued and engrossed. It’s not often that a story, one that lacks in ways for the reader (such as myself) to relate in a book, which isn’t of the fantasy genre, can really get to you.

This book is set in another time, a different era to the one you and I are used to, yet so familiar to the protagonist, who remains unnamed; given the name: Offred. It’s set in a time where there is no freedom, everyone has a place, and Offred’s place is in the red cloak of the Handmaid.

Handmaid’s are assigned to households, who have Commanders (the ones in charge), Wives of the Commanders and Marthas. A Handmaid’s job is to give children to the homes, and in a fairly clinical manner. It’s their only duty, along with the shopping, and if they can’t do that, untold fates lie in their way.

It’s a novel about this one woman’s life, under this new state. Her life before, the transition and the present, all told in painfully descriptive narrative, gives an insight to the mind of the oppressed and how the smallest hope can keep somebody going – or make them become careless. There is no freedom and everybody is under lock and key, there are Eye’s everywhere.

My conclusion: READ THIS! Enough said.


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