Margaret Atwood is an author I kept hearing about but never thought I would enjoy – I’m not sure what I was expecting but THE HANDMAID’S TALE broke expectations completely. Here’s my review.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
TITLE [4/5] I keep wanting to mistype the title as The Handmaiden’s Tale and I have no idea why. Tale implies a more traditional fantasy or historical setting, which I find interesting as behind it hides a strong, shocking contemporary.
COVER [4/5] To some extent I like the cover, but I still have mixed opinions. Perhaps rows of figures with their faces scratched out would have been more meaningful – although I like that the Handmaid’s outfit is on the cover because at times it is hard to visualise on it’s own.
PLOT [4/5] I’ve seen people complain that nothing seems to happen by the end of the novel – events occur but the ending is rather abrupt. However, I kind of like it. It’s real, and even if certain events are never tied up completely, for once I don’t mind too much.
CHARACTERS [4/5] Offred. It took me awhile to work out the reason for her ‘name’ – Of Fred. If you’re looking for an example of drastic, world changing character development then this is not the book for you. However, if you’re looking for a social commentary on society, or even just a very good, very different, book – I think you’ll be happy regardless. There are many characters who all have their own motivations, their own reasons for their own actions. Moira in particular was an interesting character as a parallel to Offred.
OVERALL [4/5] The writing style is poetical and hard hitting, and I can definitely see why there are some who don’t like it – but, for me, it was a great surprise. I think this is definitely a book to reread and pick up everything I missed the first time around, because I feel like the fast-pace meant I was skimming some paragraphs while caught up in the action. I have to say, THE HANDMAID’S TALE is nothing like what I expected from a Margaret Atwood – but that isn’t a bad thing. It’s the sort of novel you have to be in the right mood for, but definitely enjoyable if you are..
I’m trialling rating each aspect out of five as well as an overall out of five rating – what do you guys think? Thank you to everyone who participated in the OPINION POLL post – your feedback is invaluable in helping me become a better blogger. To those who haven’t voted yet, voting will remain open for at least another month.
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