It was such a hype on the internet around this book, written by Margaret Atwood, that I couldn’t resist to buy it. Firstly released in 1985, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a classic, for sure, and hard to review in few sentences. This kind of book surprises with its complexity. Also, the author’s vision on describing both a realistic and a fantasy world is exceptional.
The story itself
A book as a standard in academia, indeed for decades, “The Handmaid’s Tale” happens in a near future United States. Here, the government has failed due to attacks and various disasters. The Constitution was abolished by a religious movement, which stipulated that women won’t have any rights anymore. This is the time when borns the Republic of Gilead.
And so it begins the story of Offred, a Handmaid who stays at the service of a high-ranking Commander and her duty to become pregnant, as the Commander’s wife can’t have children. Offred is at her third and last attempt to become pregnant. If not so, she will receive a de facto death sentence. In Gilead, the Handmaid’s have this role, to conceive, and if they do not succeed, the society considers it’s their fault. Men can’t be sterile, this is what Gilead’s mentality says, and the women who don’t have children will get a deadly punishment as such.
‘I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born.’
Margaret Atwood has this writer’s talent on helping the reader experience the paranoia, the dangers, the solitude and the rebellions of the Gilead’s world through Offred’s eyes.
In that world where everything seems to work correctly, because of the hard persecutions, we can also discover the system’s imperfections.
‘You can’t help what you feel but you can help how you behave.’
For instance, the Commander starts having an illicit affair with Offred, and they meet several times a week in his office. Also, Serena, the Commander’s wife, arranges an issue for Offred with Nick, the chauffeur. This is how she wanted to increase the chances for the Handmaid to get pregnant.
At the same time, on her walk to shopping, next to another Handmaid, Offred learns about the underground movement. This is called Mayday and reveals how the system can be so sick.
Feelings about Handmaid’s Tale book
Honestly, it took me some time to think about how to write this review. The book is so good, so sick, surprising and provident that it is hard to summarize all the feelings I went through. This novel packs lots of emotions. Reading about the world of Gilead, and the Handmaids scares me a little. I’m wondering if only the author wanted to talk about the future we run to.
I highly recommend it to anyone. Can’t wait to finally watch the series, as I wanted so much to read the book firstly.