Friday, September 26, 2008

The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood

Quickly catching up - I am! The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood is actually my September book for both the New Classics Challenge and the Unread Authors Challenge. (As an aside I've read my August book for the Unread Authors but I haven't posted my review because I'm waiting for my mom to finish her August book!)

Margaret Atwood has been sitting on my shelf for ages - both The Handmaids Tale and Blind Assassins. This was the perfect excuse for me to pick one of them up. After finishing The Handmaids Tale I'm sad it took me so long because it was sooo good!

The Handmaids Tale is a story about the future (a very scary future for women!) It follows the story of Offred (named so because she is the Handmaid of Fred - hence Of-fred). Women who are fertile are handmaids and are placed in homes of high ranking individuals in order to help the human population increase (hard to imagine a future where we're concerned about our population...but...) The rules are very strict as far as who you can speak to, what you can speak about, where you can go, what you can do, etc.

The story is told with Offred as the narrator. She reminices about her life prior to this "take over and change" and talks about her husband and daughter, wondering what has happened to them. She remembers life before this "regime" and what the differences are and what has changed. So you get a good perspective on how the transition occurred.

I have to say it has been awhile since I have read a book this "unputdownable". Every waking moment I had was spent reading this book (yes, that means I was reading & walking at the same time!) It was so interesting and also really scary. I mean not that I think that would happen to our society, but...neither did the narrator when she talks about her life before.

My only complaint was that the ending was a little abrupt and "unfinished" in that you don't really know what happens. Although, I guess it does really fit with the novel and what might have "really" happened. Overall, I would say this is a book NOT TO BE MISSED!!!!!


Shion said...

Oooo! I'm so excited to read it! I love Margaret Atwood!

Kate said...

So I finished this book in about a week, it really was "unputdownable"! Did you read the historical notes at the end? They helped wind the story up a lot, I thought, and they were actually part of the book - it was as if there was a conference going on about the book in 2195. Let me know if you didn't, and I'll give it back to you!