Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book Review - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Handmaid's Tale 
Author: Margaret Atwoodx
Year: 1998
Page: 311
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Maybe
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.

First Sentence:
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
Why did I pick this book?
In 2010, I found that I quite enjoy dystopian books (a new genre to me). I keep seeing this book being mentioned as as classic dystopian, so I felt I should read it to see what the fuss is about!

My thoughts:
  • I don't know if it's because I have high expectation? I thought this was just okay
  • It was a bit slow, and I didn't really connect with the main protagonist, Offred. The book also alternated between past and present, and it was a little confusing at times
  • I just felt like something was missing - would the society be scary if it turned out like it described in the book? Yes, it would be if I thought about it - but I didn't feel scared while I was reading it, it didn't really make me think of "what if" like I usually do when I read dystopian. 
  • I have never read Atwood before, but I know she is quite popular. I may still give her other books a try when I am in the right mood. Her writing was okay, though I felt the book could have been shorter. 

    Your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others. (p84)

    Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some. (p211)

    Rating: 3 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. This is the 1 genre we didn't differ on, I do not enjoy dystopian.

      Happy New Year to you Christa, I look forward to your 2011 reviews.

    2. I read this book almost one year ago today. Like you, I felt it was just OK. I didn't connect with Offred, either, and by the time she took action, I felt it was too little, too late. I did, however, enjoy Atwood's writing. I checked out from the library a book of her short stories called Wilderness Tips shortly after reading The Handmaid's Tale, because I wanted to re-read a story called Hairball, but I didn't get around to it. Maybe this year.

    3. @Marce - I don't like all dystopian (and some I couldn't finish). But I think you have tried a few to know you don't like it, which is good for yourself to know what to avoid :) For whatever reason, I just can't get into chick-lit, and when I do read it I become overly critical lol.

      @Charley - I may give Atwood another try, before I give up on her :) I don't like short stories though, but I will keep that in mind, as I may want to challenge myself to read short stories...