The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Book - 1985
Average Rating:
Rate this:
101
12
9
 …
In this seminal work of speculative fiction, the Booker Prize-winning author asks: In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies? Soon to be a10-episode TV series produced by MGM Television, starring Elizabeth Moss ( Madmen ), Samira Wiley ( Orange is the New Black ), Joseph Fiennes, and Max Minghella

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 days 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, andliterary tour de force.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : McClelland and Stewart, c1985
ISBN: 9780735253308
9780771008559
9780771008795
9780770428204
Branch Call Number: ATWOO
Characteristics: 324 pages

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

b
begue88
Oct 05, 2018

I enjoyed the premise of the story, although the author's writing-style did not resonate with me well. She bounces around a lot (between past, present, and the main character's fantasies) without any warning---sometimes mid-paragraph. The author spends most of the book delving into the main character's thoughts and not very much time creating a picture of the new world order. You only get a vague understanding of what is going on in the world and why and how it happened, and I would have liked to know more. The historical notes at the end of the book do shed some light on the events of the time "Gileadean" time period from the perspective of future historians, so I recommend reading that section.

d
DuchessA2017
Sep 29, 2018

Not sure what all the hoopla is about. It's about 50 pages too long, but otherwise an easy read for the beach or long weekend.

d
Dream24
Aug 30, 2018

I picked this up because I was intrigued by the TV trailer.

This was an interesting story, I'm not sure how I feel about it. It kind of bothers me that Offred kept going back and forth between the past and the present, often in the same sentence. That keeps throwing me off as to the timeline and what is happening. It gets annoying after a while.

The world Offred knew has changed. From what use to be a democratic society, where females have a say and choice, to a world where females are assigned 'roles' (handmaidens, wives, cooks, etc). We don't find out what really happened in Offred's world before the establishment of the current Gilead until more than half way through the book. And even then it was very brief, I would have liked more information about what else went on.

It is interesting how the idea of handmaidens are similar to surrogates, except handmaidens have only 3 chances, a lot of restrictions and don't have a say in all this, plus this is all done for the purpose of strictly helping the declining birth rates in Gilead.

I didn't really feel for any of the characters because I couldn't connect with them, especially Offred. I feel there is a disconnect somewhere.... I had hoped I would have enjoyed this book more but I guess not.

a
arlengarrison
Aug 29, 2018

Well written, but I found the plot lacking. Not very believable unless you're a total fan of dystopian fantasy.

ArapahoeLauren Jul 23, 2018

This book will stir up all kinds of emotions and beliefs as you enter into a very different perspective of rights and privileges and choices as a woman. I just started the TV show, which is amazing. Please read this excellent type of "window" story into the lives of the Handmaids.

SFPL_ReadersAdvisory Jul 20, 2018

Series based on the novel, 2018 SAG Award nominated, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series; Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, Elisabeth Moss.

SFPL_StaffPicks Jul 12, 2018

Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood. 2017 Emmy Awards for outstanding drama series (Hulu); Elisabeth Moss, outstanding lead actress; Ann Dowd, outstanding supporting actress; Reed Morano, outstanding directing; Bruce Miller, outstanding writing

EverythingTouches Jul 05, 2018

This was well written. The story had an honesty about it that made it feel real. The main character reflected the unassuming traits of a survivor which I found interesting and could connect with. Lots of attention to detail and surreal moments.

a
ajax_6_0
Jun 21, 2018

Read this after watching the tv series. It really adds a lot to the story!

JCLAmyF Jun 07, 2018

I read this because I recently watched Hulu's series and was blown away. It was delightful to read the book and get more details. Atwood's writing is poignant, simple and beautiful. This book is hard to read because of its realistic portrayal of gender oppression. Highly recommended.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

r
reeread
Oct 01, 2018

“My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter.”

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

As long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out,
that we will be touched again, in love or desire. We have ceremonies of our own, private ones.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

There can be alliances even in such places, even under such circumstances. This is something you can depend upon: there will always be alliances of one kind of another.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

It is the hardest for you. We know the sacrifices you are being expected to make. It is hard when men revile you. For the ones who come after you, it will be easier. They will accept their duties with willing hearts. She did not say: Because they will have no memories, of any other way. She said: Because they won't want things they can't have.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

What he's telling us, his level smile implies, is for our own good. Everything will be all right soon.
I promise. There will be peace. You must trust. You must go to sleep, like good children.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”

s
SlotFather
Jul 11, 2014

I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.

View All Quotes

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

s
steven_hahn
Jun 01, 2018

steven_hahn thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

b
blue_cat_16312
May 18, 2018

blue_cat_16312 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

j
jjwoodard
Jun 01, 2017

jjwoodard thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

e
eparti
Mar 29, 2015

eparti thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

EuSei Jan 25, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

s
Saralovebaig
Nov 28, 2012

Saralovebaig thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

h
hardkorelish
Apr 16, 2011

hardkorelish thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Notices

Add Notices

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Hangings and group lynching

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Sexual Content: Explicit sexual scenes

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Violence: group mob attack section

Summary

Add a Summary

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Offred lives in a society where women are valued purely for their ability to reproduce because of rampant bareness caused by radioactive materials. Offred is one of the handmaids who are forced to procreate under the direct supervision of their commanding 'wives'. Offred had a family and a child of her own which were taken from her when she was forced to become property. All aspects of her life are controlled on pain of death. Things start to spiral downward when her Commander (baby daddy) starts speaking to her outside of the prearranged time he promises her glimpses of her old life. She is also forced into a sexual encounter with one of the servant men after her commanding wife feels the commander is incapable of getting her pregnant. She continues on this relationship even though she is afraid of being found out. The book ends rather abruptly when Offred is taken away in a van which is known to dispose of rebellious handmaids. It is implied that her lover helps her escape although it is ambiguous.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at the Library

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top