The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Book Review

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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 played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is the second book I’ve read by her, and now my favourite of the two (the other one was Oryx & Crake, which I really enjoyed). I’m a fan of books that touch on feminist issues and The Handmaid’s Tale essentially revolves around the limitations put on women and the control exerted over them by men.

Atwood’s writing style in this book is extremely poetic, and I personally loved this. I’m honestly not usually a huge fan of poetry because I sometimes find it confusing or, and don’t hate me, pretentious depending on the author. Atwood’s lyrical style of writing in The Handmaid’s Tale added depth to the narrator’s voice. The poeticism of this book helped suck me into the story and I ended up reading it quite quickly. That being said, I have read a lot of reviews where readers hated this about the book.

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I enjoyed the way that Atwood unfolded the protagonist’s story, jumping between her present situation in the dystopian society and her past, which led to this society emerging. The one negative comment I have about the past and present jumping is that it there wasn’t any visual on the page to show this jump, so it would take a few sentences sometimes to realise what had happened. This wasn’t too distracting from the story though, because it was usually easy enough to figure out and then continue on.

I would give this a 4.75/5

For Fans Of: 1984 by George Orwell, Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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