The Handmaid's Tale MOBI ✓ The Handmaid's eBook

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 Funny unexpected horrifying and altogether convincing The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire dire warning and tour de force

10 thoughts on “The Handmaid's Tale

  1. says:

    It's been almost five years since I wrote my review I've rewritten large parts of it for clarity The main idea remains the same Extremist Judeo Christian beliefs have won America's culture war Now women have no rights They are slaves to men and the biblical patriarchal society in which they live The Handmaid's Tale is the first person account of one of these enslaved womenMassachusetts Turns Into Saudi Arabia?More than thirty years have passed since The Handmaid's Tale was first published in 1985 but many still think of it as the go to book for feminist fiction It makes numerous best of lists the kinds with 99 other books everyone should read before dying Even so The Handmaid's Tale frustrates me a lot—and not only because it contains run on sentences and needlessly abandons quotation marks This is no train wreck like José Saramago's Blindness but it's bad enough Simply put if you can ignore whether you agree or disagree with Margaret Atwood's ideas about politics religion and women's rights the plot and setting make no senseThe religiosity of the Reagan era inspired Atwood's dystopia in which fundamentalist Christians have taken over society While that premise does give me the heebie jeebies Atwood’s taken the idea to a literal extreme to make a point This ruins the foundation of The Handmaid's Tale because most American fundies would balk at this world Atwood imagines the extreme of the extreme and in the process completely misunderstands American evangelicalism I'm a heathen bastard and no fan of religion Fundamentalism has hurt people particularly women for millennia Extremism continues to hurt people every day especially in some parts of the world especially in some states Even so it's hard to accept Atwood's dystopia when it's set in the US in the near future—and in Massachusetts one of the most progressive states in the country one of only sixteen states in the union with state constitutional protections for abortion since 1981 I believe Massachusetts is a liberal bastion when it comes to American women's reproductive rights so it's an odd setting for this brand of nightmare In recent decades Massachusetts is also one of the least religious states so it's an odd setting for a theocracy tooAtwood chose Massachusetts for its puritanical history I can embrace the connection to the Reagan administration in the same way I can embrace Orwell's fear of communism in 1984 but to imagine an unchanging puritanical Massachusetts requires a bit too much Societies Don't Change OvernightThe Handmaid's Tale is told in first person by a woman who’s lived in our present day or less as well as in this dark fundamentalist Tomorrowland She’s gone from wearing flip flops and sundresses to a full body religious habit color coded red to match her subservient role She was married once had a child Now she’s another’s property one of the handmaids sent from one man’s house to another The hope is that she will become pregnant when a prominent man’s wife cannot Her life has been flipped and made forfeit She lives in fear and depression and abuse This is meant to make me unnerved and it doesButSimply because an author wants to comment on society doesn’t mean he or she can ignore important logical story elements The logic part should be emphasized here I think given this is supposed to be science fiction not fantasy Although Atwood does insist The Handmaid's Tale is speculative fiction because that further legitimizes her storyor something? Never mind that sci fi and fantasy are types of speculative fictionThere’s a question I have that never gets answered not properly at least How did this happen so quickly? How did we go from burning bras to having every part of our lives regulated? Why did it take Massachusetts decades centuries to reject puritanism but only a few years? to reject liberalism?Rights can erode but you don’t see it happen on such a large scale and so seamlessly and not overnight Nothing happens overnight especially not governmental takeovers in relatively stable secular societies which is the book's scenario Societies evolve one way or another usually rather slowly Civil moral and regime changes don't sneak up on you It wasn't the case in Germany before Hitler in China before Mao in Afghanistan before the Taliban in Syria before its civil war It's not the case in 2016 with people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump leading in GOP primary polls The world may be disappointing and horrible sometimes but it is rarely surprisingIf Atwood had built her dystopia on a chain of events that occurred over a longer period of time or explained how everything unraveled so quickly I might have been on board with the premise That isn't how The Handmaid's Tale is written though The explanations for the sudden changes are fantastical at best dependent on evil digitized money—be careful with the mobile payments and bitcoins ladies—and misogynistic conservative conspiracies that readers are to believe could bring millions of people to a stupefied halt and change culture in the blink of an eye view spoilerApparently it’s easy to gun down all of Congress while it’s in session Who knew? hide spoiler