The Handmaid's Tale

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Score: 4.5 0 5
1,380 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

  • Blew my mind

    By JessicaRabbit81
    Atwood takes me to places within myself that I never knew existed. I'm more familiar with her poetry, this is actually the first time I am reading one of her books and I have no idea why I wasn't reading this in high school. The book is like one a long poem, her style of writing is so eloquent. I think she rivals Virginia Woolf.
  • You will feel unfulfilled.

    By Justice9300
    The narrator grabs you, tells you some of her story and then disappears. The ending is horrible. I feel like I wasted my time.
  • Page turner but..

    By J0282771
    I give three stars only because I very much dislike and choose not to read books with such endings. If I would have know the ending was such as this, I would not have purchased the book.
  • Not a happy ending

    By Vannybonbon
    This isn't a feel good story. I kept reading this book thinking that the heroine would finally be a hero or get her life back or fall in love but no. That doesn't happen at all. I guess don't spend $11 on a story that you think is going to be like the Hulu show and then get totally disappointed like I did.
  • Alright but...

    By jlebomba1
    The Handmaid's Tale was alright but not as good as all the hype would lead you to believe. I enjoyed the concept of the book and the general story line, but if found the writing style to be confusing and tiresome at times. It's short and a pretty quick read. To me it seems like the story and the characters weren't fully developed. In other books, I have really liked the jumping back and forth between timeframes as they very conducive to the story and clearly delineated. In this book, however, I found them very confusing. I think this book would have been better served to be linear instead of jumping. I don't know if I think this is the case because of this particular story or because of the writing style. Maybe both. I didn't hate this but I wouldn't recommend either.
  • Pandering Feminist Propaganda

    By iNeutral
    Poorly written, loosely developed, plotless. This book seemed to be a bunch of half written feminist fables bound together with no ending or consistent tethering, other than "fear men they may or may not manipulate society and themselves in to oppressing or empowering you". Pointless, convoluted rambling. If you find this book enlightened as a woman the most laughable part is you, yourself are at the for front of the theoretical "magazine burning" the author uses as weak attempt to warn how women could be easily over come almost immediately with little to no fight. Safe yourself the time and energy. Read something else.
  • A Timely Tale

    By hdgretzky
    This work should be required reading in any women's studies program. It is a gripping tale. The author's transitions between the three story lines is sometimes difficult to recognize. I am frightened by this story which like Robert Heinlein's future history series is much too timely.
  • The Handmaids Tale

    By Coolraye
    Interesting. I had hoped to understand more at the end. But, I look forward to the movie now!
  • The Handmaiden's Tale

    By Ms.Chumley
    Perfect dystopian cautionary tale in the age of Trump and the accompanying rise of right wing religiosity in government.
  • Captivating and close to home

    By aww1093
    First read this book in AP Lit during a feminist unit of literature, the awakening and this amazing piece of literature have really withstood time for me. Margaret Atwood is a visionary and clearly attuned to the climate. She has shown a light on the downfalls of humanity when we become so polarized with beliefs. I highly recommend this book to all. It's a wonderful piece for discussion and drawing parallels into our current world- not just the US. A truly powerful narrative layered with the complexities that faze humanity under authoritarianism. Reminds us to fight back, question and resist incompetence and intolerance.

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