The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: Feb. 17, 1986
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin House
Genre: Women's Ficion
Review: ebook book
The Handmaid's Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
I saw the series of this book title on Hulu and I wanted to watch it but I felt I needed to read the book first to get a glimpse as to what it would be about. I am glad I did though I at times I was a bit confused as we switch different parts within the story. By that I mean once we will be talking about what is going on in the present of Offred, to the past, and finally to what happened during a certain time at the center. Reading this I was a bit concerned of how all of this went down. When women's rights are taken away and they are just used for certain things it is scary. Knowing you can not talk about anything because you never know who is watching or hearing is scary. Some women being used to make a baby and the way it went down gave me the heebie jeebies. Like man to me that is degrading. I do feel that there was a lot of unanswered questions and I was not impressed with the ending of this book. I do have to say I really enjoyed the character because even when she was put into this position she never fully lost herself. She remembered her daughter (though I would have liked to know where she went to), she remembered the man she loved. To me that speaks volumes that she never let anyone fully break her.
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.
Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.
Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.
Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers' Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.