Aubrey's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 16, 14

bookshelves: 1001-06-12, 4-star, reviewed, 1000-guardian, disturbation, reality-check, prince-asturias, feminista, 1001-self, r-2012, 500-wm-to-post, r-goodreads
Read from March 30 to April 01, 2012


Margaret Atwood has such a way with metaphors. Give her a calm pond filled with normal plant life, and she'll make you see corpses floating in their own blood. An addictive sort of morbidity.

Anyways. It seems like every time I turn around there's another dystopia floating by in all its screwed up glory. Well. That depends on the quality (cough Hunger Games cough).

Here we have one that doesn't explain itself as much as others do, at least not very consistently. I enjoy this kind of writing if it is done well; you sink into the world so much more if you have to feel your way around in ignorance for a while before getting the big picture. Atwood's style is uniquely suited to this, as she can wrap you in such disturbing visualizations that you're always trying to catch your balance from yet another normal scene gone twisted and stunningly grotesque. You can feel the main character succumbing to these horrible waves brought upon by her unthinkable situation; never have I sympathized more with a tenuous hold on sanity, or felt more mentally threatened by words on paper. It doesn't help that current politics seeking to control women's bodies would use many of the reproductive problems the dystopia sought to solve as logic behind their decisions. Definitely put my teeth on edge.

In summary, this book will disturb you with its overt sexual power plays and Old Testament viciousness. It's unsettling in a good way though, in that it gives you plenty of food for thought. Atwood's prose definitely gives new meaning to the phrase 'morbid fascination'.
28 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Handmaid's Tale.
sign in »

Quotes Aubrey Liked

Margaret Atwood
“But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“The sitting room is subdued, symmetrical; it’s one of the shapes money takes when it freezes.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Jenn(ifer) I'm reading this now. Excellent review!

Aubrey Thanks Jenn. If my review didn't put you off, I'm sure you'll enjoy the book.

Kalliope I did not like the book (read years ago), but this is a good review..!

Aubrey Thanks Kalliope. That's always good to hear.

Sentimental Surrealist I'm telling you, the Blind Assassin. It puts the theories of this book into magnificent practice.

Cecily Sentimental Surrealist wrote: "I'm telling you, the Blind Assassin. It puts the theories of this book into magnificent practice."

Really? I have TBA on my TBR pile, but from what I know of it, the similarities are not obvious. Is it possible to indicate what they are - without spoilers? (No worries, if it's not.)

Sentimental Surrealist Well, basically, the idea of men subjugating women is brought into what I find a more... novelistic, I guess practice in the Blind Assassin. More conflict, character development, that sort of thing.

Cecily Ah, right. Thanks. :)

Aubrey Sentimental Surrealist wrote: "I'm telling you, the Blind Assassin. It puts the theories of this book into magnificent practice."

Atwood's been more miss than hit lately and I still have two others of hers on hand before I consider adding any more. We'll see how it goes.

back to top