Stevecrandell's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Jul 20, 11

bookshelves: government-and-politics, grades-9-and-up, classics
Read in July, 2011

This is a very powerful story, very Orwellian. And the personal feminist perspective is impressive enough to make Atwood’s message stand apart from other political novels of paranoia, domination, and submission. More important, Atwood is a great writer. She builds moments of suspense from brief observations, and provides room for sympathy, passion, and hope, as well as fear.

Offred is a dominating character – everything else revolves around her. This again seems entirely appropriate, given the extreme personal emotions that illuminate her society. My only significant complaint is with the Historical Notes afterword. It goes too far in clarifying and minimizing the scope of Offred’s story. Maybe that’s part of Atwood’s point as well – it doesn’t take a global conspiracy to turn any one person’s life into all-consuming despair.
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