Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

When you are not reviewing copies, what you read?

I usually pick up authors that I’ve never read before, like Margaret Atwood. I was introduced to her by “When The Heart goes Last” and that is when I titled her the “Dystopian Queen”. The scenarios she creates and writes is absolutely breathtaking and spine-chilling too at times. Recently I picked up one of her classic’s, The Handmaid’s Tale and I was shocked beyond words! The background, the characters and the storyline is like WOAH! 

The story of The Handmaid’s Tale is told by Offred, who is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead. The Republic offers only one option to Offred and other Handmaids: To breed. If she deviates, she will, like all dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

The republic was once a normal country, where everyone had equal rights, a proper democracy. But then human evils of using too many resources lead to depletion of natural resources, the creation of dangerous technology and ultimately high mortality rate in babies. To tackle the situation, the women were asked to get rid of their jobs, they cannot work, have equal rights, and are only expected to breed with Commanders of the Republic of Gilead so that the mortality rate can be normal again.

Just like Offred, many women are picked up against their will and broken down to become a Handmaid, a treacherous journey that promises a future of oppression of thoughts and free will.
But can the repressive state obliterate desire? Can they control her memory of how she landed in this situation? Can they control her planning to evacuate, so that she can reconcile with her daughter?

Just like other Atwood novels, The Handmaid’s Tale is a brilliant work of Dystopia. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that some of us have such brilliant minds that we can create something so powerful with our imagination! When I speak about Atwood, I fall short of words. All I can say is that The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful novel and hands down, a must read!

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