The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood

Monday, 11 April 2016

"Every feminist should read this book" my auntie said to me when she recommended this dystopian classic, I myself disagree with her. Yes it has feminist connotations and the tale is a reflection on the patriarchy and what could actually happen if the world allowed it to take over, but I just don't think the characters are strong enough to call it a book all feminists should read, it's more about surrender than rebellion and it just left me abit luke warm and wondering whether my womanhood would be challenged and used to create children and wear white hats and be forced to have sex with powerful men, it's all just a bit solemn if you ask me. 

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... 

Now I know this book was not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, I know it is about repression and a hard hitting story about a dystopian universe run by men. I love a dystopian novel and I knew what I was getting myself in for, what I didn't know was that the writing is so one dimensional and hard to follow, Atwood's writing is very developed and almost abit tedious, can you tell I'm not a fan?
I thought the plot was a bit all over the place and just not very interesting, I had to force myself to pick it up and finish it which is unlike me, I know I'm a slow reader but that's not because I hate it and force myself I'm completely the opposite I like to absorb everything in, take my imagination on an adventure, but with this book I found that much harder. Another thing is that the plot seemed similar and repeated because I have read Louise O'Niell's Only Ever Yours which is basically just a massive rip off of Handmaid's Tale (sorry Louise) so it was like reading the same plot all over again, I did however prefer Handmaid's Tale to Only Ever Yours because the story was much more apocalyptic and almost realistic. That's what I like about this book, that you could actually see this happening, in a much less extreme way maybe? maybe not. It's scary how the plot tells us about her normal life and how close it is to our lives now, it's almost reflective on the state of the world now and that's almost terrifying, but that's what a good dystopian novel is meant to do and so I have to say this is a good dystopian novel, although it is not my favourite and I am almost relieved to have finished it. Maybe it's the over hanging threat of being forced to stop reading and create children and have my rights taken away from me, just saying. 

I'm sorry this review is a bit negative, but I don't like to lie, I didn't enjoy it but it is still a great book for the story idea and the tale of repression and all, tell me if you read it and enjoyed it however I wont be giving it another go. 



  1. I've just finished reading this book for my A Level Literature class and was left feeling deflated and all together disappointed. I felt as if the plot of the was all over the place with the mix of flashbacks and present day. I also thought that Offred wasn't really a rounded enough character to relate to or form any sort of relationship with her. I enjoyed certain aspects and elements of the book, I enjoyed Moira as a character and the mystery of not knowing whether Luke was alive or not, but I just felt as if it was lacking something all together. I'm glad that I've found someone who sort of feels the same way as me!!


    1. I completely agree with all of this! And don't worry I know a lot of people who found flaws in this book so you are far from alone.