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Book Review

Professional Reader

The Handmaid’s Tale
By: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Utopian/dystopian fiction

Reading Time: 7 hours

Pages: 295


Summary: 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 had a job, money of her own and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. [As written on the back cover of the novel]

                   “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

Rant: WOW! I high key expected this book to be like other mainstream, try hard dystopian novels and while arguably it might have been, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! The premise was engaging, the society was weird, the characters were dynamic (that’s my favorite thing!!). I love to read a book with a witty and relatable read. Offred was perfect inspite of her flaws. She was cautious, she was intelligent, she suffered, she longed for her old life, she got caught up in her passions. We get to watch her develop as a character. She finally begins to take her life into her own hands, balancing the Commander and his wife, realizing she will not escape if she doesn’t initiate it herself.

I also think this book is an eye opener, with such strong advocation for equality movements and feminism, it sometimes blinds us to the fact that the exact opposite of what we are fighting for isn’t lovely either. Offred is supposedly safe from men, she is coveted, she has a place above most men. But she is no longer free to learn, think, seek pleasure, eat what she chooses, have a job, fall in love, care for her children and the list goes on. And the book expresses the difference between freedom from and freedom to. At times it seems that those options aren’t freedom at all.

All in all, this was an excellent book, I was pleasantly surprised by the concepts and the deep thought integrated into a dystopian novel. 5/5 stars. Highly recommend!

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