Book review

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood book review

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood book review @ Chocolate and Chapters

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Purchased

The world has fallen from a series of disasters and the United States has risen as the Republic of Gilead. Fertile women who once lead happy lives are now “handmaids.” Their only purpose is to reproduce. They can no longer have families, jobs, money, or access to knowledge. Offred can remember her life before and it haunts her every day.

Very rarely does a book affect me as deeply as this one did.

Because although this is a dystopian novel, this story feels possible. And that is a terrifying concept.

I want to say this: There have been many, many people talking about this book with the new Hulu series just having come out. I haven’t seen the series and I am NOT saying anything about our current political climate because I’m not interested in making any kind of statement. Know that. But I’ll say this: It feels like the kind of stifling oppression in this book could really happen.

She gives the reasons, the events that came first: Nuclear war. Radiation poisoning. Terrorist attacks. Rampant sexual assault and murder.

It all sounds too familiar.

There were places you didn’t want to walk, precautions you took that had to with locks on windows and doors, drawing the curtains, leaving on the lights. These things you did were like prayers; you did them and hoped they would save you. And for the most part they did. Or something did; you could tell by the fact that you were still alive (226).

Offred is the loneliest character I have ever come to know. I wanted to learn her story and at the same time, I didn’t. It was too sad. I wanted her to find peace and safety, but it didn’t feel possible. I put myself in her shoes constantly, asking the question, “How would I feel in this situation? What would I do?”

The brand of foreboding, anxiety, and distrust that fills 1984 is the same that fills this book. Trust no one. Any respite won’t last.

“The Chestnut Tree” song from 1984 came back to me often while I was reading this book. The mistrusting feeling of it matched perfectly…

“Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree” (77).

Although there is a general feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness, that’s almost the beauty of this book. You’ll hurt. You’ll feel deeply. And despite everything, you’ll know that Offred is brave.


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10 thoughts on “The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood book review

  1. “It feels like the kind of stifling oppression in this book could really happen.” I think this illustrates the appeal the book has carried since its publishing in 1985. Atwood writes of a world that has a logical genesis and as such becomes more frightening through how possible it is. Wonderful review and I look forward to reading more on your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this book as well. I highly recommend the series to your because it adds so much to the story and also the writer was involved with it’s screenwriting (she also plays a small part). Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that the series is extremely disturbing? What did you think? It might be that it’s harder to see things with our eyes than to read them. That’s the only reason I’ve been hesitant to start the series, but I am extremely interested because I love the book so much!


  3. I really wanted to read this book but I watched the show which kinda dissapointed me big times so now I’m stalling. On the other hand I only see great reviews about it.


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