The Handmaid's Tale

Atwood, Margaret

(Book Club Kit - 1985)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Handmaid's Tale
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, c1985
Characteristics: 10 books (324 p. ; 24 cm.), 1 reading guide, 1 DVD


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Dec 07, 2014
  • schaefem rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

One of my favourites. This book exaggerates current issues in western culture, within the frame of a dystopian future, to demonstrate problems that exist today, and potential outcomes if we fail to address these issues.

Themes include the repression of dissent, freedom of speech, the objectification of human female and non-human animal bodies, reproductive justice, and other heteropatriarchal power structures that also exist today.

The code words used by the handmaids to communicate their (socially forbidden) independent thoughts, identities or politics reminds me of just a few decades ago, when queer people in north america had to resort to the same thing in order to avoid police entrapment and violence.

This book is jarring, in a good way.

Sep 17, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I have somehow managed to get through to this point in my life without having read this. Margaret Atwood and I don't tend to get along but I did enjoy reading this as horrifying as it is in many ways. As with all good dystopian literature, this seems totally plausible even as it seems fantastical; and it seems especially so now considering the conversations about gender that have been happening in recent years. It even starts with the name of our protagonist, that we do not know until probably halfway through and then the meaning of that name driven home in the last third. Obvious now that I see it but that really hit hard.

In this world there is a sterility issue and our narrator is a Handmaid, who exist only to breed for Commanders and their Wives. Women are policed, have no freedoms or choice of anything. There's a great line about two Handmaids walking together, alone, and having no worries and about some freedoms being traded for others. Terrible.

The world is engrossing and the writing stye is great for the first two thirds of the book before it starts to get a little tired. The jumps between time and place are easy to follow, at least for me, but all the jumping sort of makes the plot crawl along. Just before it gets too slow things pick up again you've got to finish up that second. So, I've found me an Atwood novel that I not only like but would read again and possibly purchase. Totally deserving of the place it holds in Canadian, and dystopian, literature.

Jun 20, 2014
  • StarGladiator rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great book, and the movie (with the late Natasha Richardson and Robert Duvall) was a real shocking stunner which complemented the book (rare for any movie based upon a novel).

Jun 05, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book. I had never been inclined to read Margaret Atwood but a new found interest in Canadian literature and having this book show up in so many favorite lists convinced me to try it.
The story is written from the point of view of a women caught in the events that unfold as a part of the United States is over taken by religious fundamentalists. In the newly restrictive world where woman are prized only for their ability to have children, the handmaid tells her tale.
The story has a very limited point of view as our main character is a handmaid who has little contact with the outside world. As we read about how her life is, in the present, we get small insights into how her life was before and how she ended up here. Regardless of this or maybe because of this, I couldn’t put the book down, I always wanted to know more and despite the slow pace of the book I was never bored. I am impressed with how Margaret Atwood was able to captivate me with her storytelling and she is now one of my favorite authors.

Feb 25, 2014
  • naturalist rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Handmaid's Tale won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award.

It exposes aspects of our society that we need to learn to stop ignoring.

The concept was captivating, but I find Atwood's writing style to be a huge turn off. It is too disjointed, even though it does convey the process of thought, the short sentences and incessant description drove me half insane attempting to make the text flow. I found it too difficult to "see the forest through the trees" with all the extraneous short sentences. It was a shame because I normally enjoy dystopian literature, perhaps I expected something more sci-fi.

May 02, 2013
  • Pisinga rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I liked it and did not liked, at the same time. I was fascinated and sometimes annoyed. I wonder what acts of author's personal life, pushed her to write this book? I'm not sure if this book is included in the required reading for high school students, but if it is, there are thoughts, views on life, ideology in this book that can be understood only from a maturity based on adult's life. Sometimes such books are not completely understandable even for some adults, not to mention teenagers.

Apr 12, 2013
  • andreajomartin rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I didn't realize this was a dystopian novel until I started reading it! I really thought it was very well written. Disturbing, but well done.

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“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.”

Oct 28, 2014
  • PimaLib_JB rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“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.”

Jul 11, 2014
  • SlotFather rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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

Jun 02, 2013
  • Pisinga rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.”

Jun 12, 2011
  • Iridollae rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum


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Jan 25, 2013
  • EuSei rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Apr 16, 2011
  • hardkorelish rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

hardkorelish thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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