The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood is this week’s book. With this novel being adapted into a T.V. show I decided to reread it, to see if it was as good as I remembered. The first time I read it was because it was a book i got assigned in high school english class. Normally those books were boring, or unmemorable. Something about being forced to read sucked the fun away, made it a chore.
The Handmaids Tale was different. It drew me in, my fascination being as deep as I was disturbed. The novel stuck with me throughout the years, springing into my mind in odd times. Rereading it the effect was the same, I was emotionally effected, more so that usual. That I read it on my breaks at work only enhanced this feeling. Having to go back and talk to customers after reading about Offred was a strange experience to say the least!
In terms of the novel itself, there is a reason for its popularity and resurgence, especially with gender and religious politics being as hot button a topic today. This novel reads almost as a cautionary tale. As a imagining of the culmination of a dark timeline where everything goes wrong. When reading there is a dull sense of horror and loss that pervades each page. Even when little is happening it still feels like Offred is being victimized.
As the reader learns more and more about her story and how she was transformed into a Handmaid this sense of unease and disgust grows. The loss of freedom and agency over ones body is particularly horrifying To kill someone is one thing but to take them and twist them into something else seems almost worse.
As usual I don’t’ want to get into any spoilers because this is a book you want to go into fresh. It’s morbidly fascinating, despite being soul crushing at times. It’s an experience that will stick with you for a while after you turn the last page. I would recommend it to pretty much anyone. If your looking for a light enjoyable read I would give it a pass but otherwise pick it up ASAP!
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