Camille's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Jul 19, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 09 to 19, 2012

This book is basically a feminist version of 1984 by George Orwell. I am undecided as to whether this book deserves 3 or 4 stars, as I really really liked many parts but didn't care so much for others.

One thing I appreciated about this book was Atwood's great use of imagery and symbolism. The book is very reflective encourages exploration of thought. I can definitely see why English teachers or professors might assign a class this book. I can think of about ten paper topics off the top of my head. On the other hand, not much happens with the plot, which made for a slower read in some places which might turn some readers off.

I found it very interesting that Atwood chose to make all of Offred's relations adulterous (for lack of a better term). Her relationship with her first husband, though genuine, was adulterous in that Luke was married to someone else when they began their relationship. Offred's relationship with the commander is also arguably adulterous (at least in terms of today's monogamous society), seeing as the commander was married to another woman who was obviously not okay with Offred sleeping with her husband. As for Nick, although neither he nor she was technically married (according to the government), Offred was (according to the government) allowed sexual relations only with her commander. Sex (both the noun and the verb) in all contexts of these relationships is tainted and complicated. This observation deserves thought and exploration (along with many others).

I would certainly recommend this book for anyone interested in feminist ideas or literature, or even just "deep" literature in general. The symbolism and imagery is rich and thought provoking. However, I don't think I would recommend this book for those who prefer quick, light reads as they will probably not enjoy this book as much.

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