The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the near future, the rights of women have been stripped away and the fertile ones become Handmaids and are assigned to upper class men. Offred remembers the time before and knows there must be a way out of the hell men have created...
Once upon a time, I dated a woman whose favorite writer was Margaret Atwood and she passed along this book for me to read. Frankly, I was pretty impressed with the dystopian tale but found it a little far-fetched at the time. Now, in the later part of 2017, it feels a lot more plausible so I decided it was time for a reread.
Margaret Atwood paints a grim view of a future when women's rights are stripped away until they're reduced to breeding stock. Reading is forbidden! Reading! At the time I first read it, it seemed like a paranoid fantasy. Now, in an era where people's rights are being steadily eroded and the gap between the rich and the poor is a fathomless chasm, it's all too easy to imagine. Anyway, the paranoid feel is one of my favorite parts. Anyone could be a rat!
Atwood knows her way around a sentence. The writing is rich and she weaves quite a narrative around the life and times of a Handmaid. While she alleges she doesn't write science fiction, yes, Margaret, this is science fiction, at least on some level. Just because it's also literary and something of a cautionary tale doesn't give it a free pass. While I like the writing quite a bit, I thought it was a little wordy for what it was.
The Handmaid's tale is a powerful book and there's a reason it's won so many awards and wound up on so many people's top lists. Through the magic of aging 10-12 years, I forgot most of it so it was like a whole new book. I'm glad I reread it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
View all my reviews