A Brief Summary
In 1986, Margaret Atwood wrote of a dystopian society called the Republic of Gilead, created as the result of environmental disasters and declining birthrates that brought on America’s Second Civil War. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is that story.
America’s Second Civil War sees the rise of the Republic of Gilead. Gilead is a totalitrian regime with strict social structure and enslaves fertile women to rebuild the declining population. Offred has been assigned to one of Gilead’s Commanders to produce his children. She is a Handmaid and this is her story.
After much comtemplation (years actually) avoiding “The Handmaid’s Tale,” I decided it was time to read the story everyone was talking about. I had avoided it simply because it sounded depressing, and uninteresting. Perhaps I should have read it much earlier. With all the problems and division in America I feel like we could be on the verge of a Second Civil War and the possibility of America becoming a totalitarian society is all too real.
Am I glad to have finally read “The Handmaid’s Tale”? Yes! It is well-written and emotionally stimulating. It was not a cover-to-cover, can’t-put down read, needing to step away at times to understand my feelings. I felt Offred’s feelings like they were mine – or mine were hers.
WARNING: The story contains sexually explicit encounters and graphic language that some could find offensive. They are necessary to the Tale.
This story is not for everyone. But, for anyone who has been in the fence, I do recommend you give it a go. A #1 worldwide bestseller with over 1.7 million 4 and 5 star ratings on Goodsreads, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
I could see this book being banned in the future, if it isn’t already.
I welcome your comments!
2 thoughts on “On Reading “The Handmaid’s Tale””
I read this book a year or two ago. It’s a thought-provoking read mainly because, as you point out, it’s not quite as unrealistic a scenario as Margaret Atwood must have imagined when she wrote it.
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I think her life in Germany and imaginative mind were how she developed the story. Then she was able to sell the tale with her writing ability.
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