The Handmaid's Tale

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4.5
1,069 Ratings

The Handmaid's Tale Book Summary


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The Handmaid's Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.



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The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood Reviews

  • Good book, bad ending

    By Cassie71
    3
    I enjoyed the book but was thoroughly disappointed by the ending. None of the story line was brought to an end, way way too many loose ends.
  • Intriguing read...

    By racefan07
    5
    If you're looking for a book that dares you to consider terrifying possibilities of the future, this is it. Considering recent political events in America since the 2016 Presidential Election, this book seems to have predicted events that may soon come to fruition in some way, shape or form...A very good read either way. I could hardly put it down.
  • Glorious

    By DCUniverseKween
    5
    Such a wonderful book! The ease yet complexity with which she writes her character's is outstanding. I cannot praise her enough.
  • 2017

    By SJiphone4s
    5
    So she basically predicted 2017 was gonna happen.... making America "great" again
  • Loved but complicated to read

    By Jb0362370
    5
    Atwood's books have got me addicted to reading again! Biggest review I read before starting is no quote marks. I see that the character is constantly interrupted in her train of thoughts and routines by the trauma past and present and having to stop and go back to reconnect the conversations because lack of q Marks connected me to that in the character. Constant interruption in the flow of thoughts. No consistency. Like all of Atwood's worlds this is creative, shocking, and a eye opener to the possibilities of humanity past present and future. Onto her trilogy books.
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    By Gozalinda
    1
    I found the book totally unrealistic. (I know, it's called "fiction"). I kept searching for answers to how America allowed this regime to happen, but they never came - not even in the last unnecessary chapter. When it jumped ahead to 2165, I thought I would finally get answers. Nope. All I got was, well, it could have been this or it could have been that. Duh. I already knew that.
  • Not sure about the ending

    By Reagan006
    3
    Having just finished this book, I'm a bit conflicted. I enjoyed reading it - the story telling was organic and followed a "train of thought" pattern of writing. This makes sense when the origin of this story is "revealed", so to speak. While I appreciate the goal of the ending - that this is merely a "tale", or one of many storylines from "Gilead" era (taking into account how historians NOW use journals etc to learn about our "real" past/history, which provides some realism to the tale) - I can't help but be disappointed by the lack of resolution after becoming invested in Offred's life...what happened to her? Her daughter? Luke? Moira? The commander and Serena Joy? We're given a little bit of resolution through historical speculation some 200 years later, but that's it. Maybe as I stew on this story, I'll start to appreciate the ending more...I'm just not sure right now.
  • A Modern Day 1984

    By Dwardeng
    5
    Frightening in it's implications, this novel is a true masterpiece. One can see in present day American society the seeds of such a future. Hopefully, they don't germinate. The ending doesn't bother me. Too many people expect some kind of magical ending to the stories they read. How did you expect such a tale to end?
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    By Montelangelo
    4
    Beautifully written account of a handmaid in a dystopian future, where an extremist theocracy forces women to live oppressed and unfulfilled lives. Although this book speaks to several social issues of the past, and and possibly the future, it still leaves the reader unfulfilled and dissatisfied. However, maybe this was Atwood's achievement in writing this novel, to take the reader on a parallel emotional journey to help make a connection with the main character. Overall a story worth reading.
  • A fascinating, complex dystopia.

    By B.H. Vrux
    5
    An adroitly established setting; potently distressing and doleful.

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