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This book is unique and is certainly one that even though I didn't enjoy it, it has left a mark on me. It is about a female living in a religious, totalitarian society where women are oppressed, that is the simplest summary I can give without giving too much away. I found that the book was quite dry and boring at times and there was very few exciting portions. I also really didn't like the protagonist, I'm sure Atwood tried to write her in a way to evoke sympathy from the reader, but I just couldn't sympathize. A friend of mine warned me that the ending of the book is very odd, but what I found personally is that the ending returned the book to my graces.
I also think one of the things that disappointed me about this book is that it is often compared to George Orwell's 1984, which caused me to expect too much from it. I also really disliked Atwood's style of writing, I found it hard to get through.
I would give this book a 2/5 rating.
I read this book for category 24 "a book with a large cast of characters" for the 2020 Extreme Reading Challenge. I accidentally read Margaret Atwood's books out of order. I read The Testaments first, I'm glad I went back and read The Handmaid's Tale because it helped explain some things but still overall I didn't love it. My mind couldn't want to (didn't want to) wrap itself around such a dystopian future in which women had no rights. I really wrestled with this story. After thinking it over I felt convicted about how I take my rights foregranted in comparison to some of the situations women deal with in other countries.
The show was so good, the book was not. I only gave it the stars I did because the premise was good enough to churn out a good show. This book was a drag to get through. Nothing really added to the plot and when something finally exciting happens Boom! It’s the end of the book.
Okay - I love to read, but I am about 125 pages in on this book and still don't like it. I'm returning it to the library. I gave it one star because I find it boring.
I was hesitant to read this book since I have watched 2 of the 3 seasons on Hulu. This book read exactly as I remembered the first season, and overall was a quick/easy read. Given the horrible situation she finds herself in, I enjoyed the inner voice of the narrator - often sassy and witty. Honest and devastating. I enjoyed it a lot!
Brilliant writing, engrossing characters, especially the main character Offred. A must read for anyone who loves literature. And for all those who enjoy dystopian novels, this one shows the way, I'm sorry I didn't read it 35 years ago when it first came out.
The dystopian story was quite fascinating. I never expected such ending. Interesting book to read.
I tried to avoid reviews prior to reading this myself, and I'm glad I began without specific expectations. The pace of the story resembles the nature of the narrator's new life: slow, careful, and restrained. This could have been challenging if not for the ongoing shock of setting details that kept me riveted from beginning to end. The epilogue addition left me with even more to think about. As many have noted, the subject matter is so relevant that the book could pass for a new release.
I'm re-reading this novel in preparation for her sequel, The Testaments. My sister gave this book to me as a young adult. When I finally read it, I was horrified! The novel has a ghoulish, other-worldly atmosphere that harkens to the Puritan culture of America's past (e.g. The Witch of Blackbird Pond) and their harsh ways. The setting is dystopian with hints that a major world war has occurred and the environment has become toxic. Since human population is decreasing due to nuclear fallout, young women who are fertile are in great demand to repopulate the earth. The caveat is: they have been turned into concubines for older married couples and forced into sex slavery to bear children for these chosen old fogies. Most of the time, the babies are stillbirth or genetically damaged. But the babies who are born normal get immediately removed from the young mother and given to the privileged, virtuous, older woman. Virtuous is defined as those who embrace the New World Order, which has become a Fundamentalist Christian nightmare! As a young woman, reading this story for the first time, I was beset with creepy dreams. 4 stars given instead of 5 for giving me creepy dreams! (less)
I loved this book! It was gripping and suspenseful. Futuristic, yet believable with how the world is today.
I cannot wait to watch the television series.
One hell of a book. Not just the story but Atwood's writing and the way she crafted the story. I was not ready to read this when it first came out in the 1980s, and I'm so glad I decided to read it. It is an extremely thought-provoking story. I was completely absorbed by the tale from beginning to end, on the edge of my seat, hanging on to every word, anxious to know what would happen to the heroine and what the hell had happened in the U.S. to create such a disturbing, oppressive way of life for women. I don't feel it left questions answered nor was the ending ambiguous. To me, it's plausible that the U.S. could end up like Gilead, an idea I may not have thought 30 years ago. Thank you, Ms. Atwood, for writing this masterpiece and wake-up call.
Okay, I have mixed feelings about this book. I read this novel for the August Leawood book club. On the one hand, I'm glad that I finally read this classic, since it's been read, analyzed, and discussed by so many scholars and casual readers. It's been adapted into an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss and it's considered in the elite class of feminist dystopian fiction. I'm not a fan of dystopian fiction, so I can't say that I enjoyed this book, but it is thought-provoking. Atwood does a very chilling job of depicting a dystopian world of misogyny, racism, sexism, and homophobia. There are some unanwersed questions as to how this world came to be and the ending is ambiguous, but it all works well to create an ambiance of fear, ignorance, and uncertainty. There's a sequel, The Testaments, coming September 2019. I haven't decided yet whether I can brave more time in this world. If you favor dystopian fiction, The Handmaid's Tale will make your day. "Blessed be the fruit!" (a required sentiment of greeting in Gilead).
I read this story once more for a refresher after watching the series on TV. Wow! It was even scarier the second time. Many of the women in our world have a hard road to travel and this tale put our women pretty much out there with them too.
Powerful, provocative, and terrifying, THE HANDMAID’S TALE deals with issues that, sadly, society is still wrestling with today. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic.
A nightmarish (and sadly prophetic in our times) vision of a dystopian "republic" in the former United States, described through the narrative of a single Handmaid, a woman living in extremely oppressive conditions and occupied in the service of breeding children for the upper echelon of this society. The book is a classic and certainly worth reading, but beware: you will be unsettled and may experience a few angry, sleepless nights before the story ends.
I read this book as a fan of the Hulu series of the same name, and I felt it was a good supplement to the series. The author jumps back and forth between present and past quite a bit, but I was able to follow it just fine. Since I hadn't read it previously I can't say for sure, but I can see the potential to initially be confused by this writing style without prior exposure to the storyline. The book contains much more narrative and description than dialog, and typically this is not my preference. Atwood does it very well, though, and it didn't bother me at all. I thought the book was very well written, with a poetic feel, and I honestly didn't want to put it down.
Is this the fantastic dystopian novel it is purported to be? Not to me, not in 100 years. Its premises are silly. As silly as those of another supposedly great novel, this one from the right wing, Ayn Rand's "Atlas shrugged".
Besides, I found it boring and repetitive. To wit: since its writing in the early 1980's, women's condition has gone exactly in the opposite direction from Atwood's "premonition".
Obviously, the futurology capacities of Margaret Atwood are not those of, say Arthur Clarke: she even ends the novel with a 22nd century academic conference on the text of the Handmaid's Tale, assuming that those types of supposedly intellectual exchanges, the sick extrusion of the <publish or perish> world of the hollowed minds of academia invented in the second half of the 20th century will survive two centuries...
For the first time in years, I felt that feeling of not being able to put the book down. An absolutely eye-opening dystopian work, that features a beautiful style of writing that almost mirrors our style of thinking. A must-read!
This dystopian book is Atwood's masterpiece. It could happen here; we already have all of the technology necessary. And more than enough misogyny embedded in our culture. Anything can be justified in the name of religion...read the news.
A gripping and scary satire on the logical end result of a totalitarian takeover of the United States by patriarchs who feel entitled to have complete control over women. The parallels to current news are striking, where right wing Supreme Court justices are poised to turn back the clock on women's rights, by reimposing control over women's right to choose. I'm sure this book (which is less than 300 pages) is concise compared to the Hulu series, so to newbies I recommend the book first.
We don't, of course, read dystopian fiction for comfort, but to speak to us about how *not* to shape society, and Atwood delivers in spades with the extreme and violent consequences of racisim and gender stereotypes. At the same time, amidst the terror and abject, lonely dehumanization of a woman's daily life as only a reproductive vessel, Atwood writes with stunning grace and narrative power, and offers even fleeting glimpses of persistent humanity.