The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | Published: 1985 by McClelland and Stewart | Rating: 4.5/5 | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Classic Literature
A dystopian novel that is set in the “near future” in what was formerly the United States. Government has been overthrown by a Christian theocracy aka a theocratic military dictatorship and women have lost ALL rights… which is putting that very lightly… And honestly not all of the men have many rights either as they are also held to, though much more loosely or with more rights overall, the moral dictates of the Giliad regime.
Told through the 1st person accounts of whom we know as “Offred,” which is quite literally of-Fred, and her flashbacks to her life before the overthrow of the government as well as her time spent during the indoctrination period in which she, and other “handmaids,” are spoon fed all the information needed to become docile, unquestioning, unthinking handmaids. Their duty to provide a child to their “commander” and his wife during a sex ritual, which the wife is present for… Um so yeah, yay public sex acts in a very closed minded Christian society…
The book, which was written in 1985, eerily sounds like the Christian Radical movements of current times as they push for more and more “Christian” and “moral” precedence, as they see it. Placing blame on one religion, Islam, for their problems and then forcing their Christian beliefs down everyone’s throats for their own benefit. For myself reading the novel I could very easily imagine the fanatics of today taking their beliefs and pushing us into some semblance of the society written about in this book… So needless to say it was freaking horrifying for me as a female and a liberal who thoroughly believes in every person’s right to their own person, human rights and the like!!!
Overall it was a very good, if not somewhat disturbing, read at how things could be when taken over by a group of religious zealots. I would recommend this book and especially for a group or class where open discussion can happen. There is a lot there to discuss and dissect. It would be a really deep one to get into and I, myself, would thoroughly enjoy the discussions possible there.
The book ends with an epilogue of sorts which is actually a class discussion in the year 2195. We can glean that the Giliad society is no longer governing and the history is being discussed much like we would hear in a college class today about ancient history. The professors and the students alike lightly mock the society, in that educated sort of way, as who could fathom such archaic ideas of thinking. I could easily see this as a current history class in which we would similarly look so lightly on things such as feet binding; how backwards and unthinkable, but all the same it did happen and exist for those people who found it very real.
The book brought up some interesting thoughts for myself, personally, and I hope this book will do the same for you. At least get the wheels turning anyway! Read the book, because I said so!
Kisses until next time,
(Gotta try to end this on a light note alright)