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The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel

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Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

Provocative, startling, prophetic, The Handmaid's Tale has long been a global phenomenon. With this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's modern classic, beautifully realized by artist Renee Nault, the terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published March 26, 2019

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About the author

Renée Nault

9 books133 followers
Renee Nault is a Canadian artist, illustrator, and graphic novelist. She is known for her vivid watercolor and ink illustrations. Her work has appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and advertising around the world.

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5 stars
8,387 (43%)
4 stars
7,911 (40%)
3 stars
2,408 (12%)
2 stars
497 (2%)
1 star
239 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,578 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
October 18, 2022
A horror story, and as with almost all horror/sci fi/fantasy stories, frighteningly close to the world we live in.

I just reviewed Margaret Atwood's original story, so I won't re-discuss plot and themes. I have seen some of the fine and disturbing Hulu series, so was interested to see that Renée Nault had adapted and illustrated Atwood's story as a graphic novel. The artwork here is gorgeous, creating a somewhat different effect than the film adaptation, emphasizing on almost every page the rich, deep red of the handmaidens, etching that color forever in your mind, and the meaning of the red changes over the course of the book. It's a faithful adaptation, true to the horror and the steadily growing sense of resistance, and a looming rebellion, of May Day. I strongly recommend you check it out. A fine and worthy companion to the original. It captures the sense of the narrative in case you just want to know the story and don't really intend to/have time to read Atwood's original, but I suggest you read both, of course.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,396 followers
April 28, 2019
Because this is a graphic-novel adaptation of a very well-known and widely read book, I feel like this review shouldn't focus on the plot or characters or the world that's been built; it should instead focus on whether Renee Nault has done an effective job of adapting it all into comic form. In my estimation, she has: the art is wonderful, very appropriate and affecting, and while it couldn't have been easy to cut this story down in a way that makes sense, she's done it. It's been a long time since I read The Handmaid's Tale, and I couldn't tell you what Nault has cut, but I can say that what she's left in works very well.

Also: It's still a great story. When I read Atwood's novel I was nineteen and was just beginning to educate myself on politics and social issues, so I don't think I grasped it all as well as I did this time around. The parallels to our current culture are evident and the portrayals of how humans react to governmental overrreach feel familiar. Like I said, great story. Great, terrifying story.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,292 reviews2,287 followers
November 7, 2022
I don't know if I should be happy that I didn't read the book first before reading the graphic novel adaptation. Because that's enough for days to come. Because the story is a nightmare.

As simple as this (I don't have the IT factor to write reviews taking notes and references from history and stuff), this is a dystopian (it better be) world where the ONLY purpose of all the women is to procreate for an old man and women making themselves believe that their only purpose is to do the same. Covered from head to toe, denied of any kind of freedom and luxury, they are kept in a prison like place with anyone who goes against the so called rules to be hanged or something cruel likewise.

I find the graphic presentation quite appealing as against to the entire story. I find the artwork really mesmerizing. The art sequence, the dialogue presentation, the combination of colours and the way the art's been polished. Damn. That's the whole deal.

Agree to disagree, women make themselves miserable. Patriarchal society per se, but if we women uplift ourselves I believe men cannot do much. Similar to this story, it's women who were controlling the other women and men crouching behind to take over observing how women mistreat another woman in the first place.

(Damn I didn't want to write much. Yes, just an opinion. Agree to disagree.)
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
November 11, 2022
Video review: https://youtu.be/tXI9eJvwsFg

I've never read the full novel of THE HANDMAID'S TALE but it's been on my list forever. I knew I wasn't going to get to it any time soon realistically, but this graphic novel had been catching my eye so I decided to go for it. I'm glad I did because I sat down one morning and didn't get back up until I was finished with it. It was that good. I knew vaguely what the story was about but I've managed to avoid spoilers, and I've held off on watching the TV show until I read the book. I'll definitely be watching it soon and reading the full book soon too. The art, the story, it was all so haunting. It was hard to read but so well written. Honestly this is one of those books that you'll never forget once you read it. It was relevant when it was written and unfortunately it's still very relevant. Definitely a must read.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,133 followers
June 1, 2019
While in Barnes Noble recently picking up a couple classic graphic novels on my to own list, the bookseller says, up front we also have THE HANDMAIDS TALE graphic novel. I said thanks, but the novel wasn't a favorite of mine. She said hers either, she doesn't like dystopian stories, and, of course, I said I loved them, but not that particular one. She said, the book is beautifully done though....and that it is. I walked out with it!

So here I am done reading the story for a second time and loving it and the beautifully illustrated graphics of this horrific dystopian world for women.

The fertile women are objects used primarily as a container for procreation, a natural resource of the time in the terrifying Republic of Gilead, and THE HANDMAIDS TALE is primarily Offred's oppressive story of loss, loneliness, grief and the forbidden touch of love.

NO talking...NO employment...NO reading...NO friendships. The handmaid's cannot even look at each other, and sneaking around is dangerous and detrimental to your health. The aunts are always watching as are the wives and punishments are brutal....to those unessential parts of the body that don't affect their purpose in life. And even worse....there's the ominous hanging wall visible to all who pass.

Note: Illustrations in this graphic novel are colorful and vividly expressive of bringing to life this unsettling dystopian world.

Have not yet watched the Netflix movie, but can't wait to see if it ends like the book for Offred

Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,916 reviews681 followers
May 7, 2022
Now I am ready to read the book - best GN I have read this year. Ranks right up there with Brave New World and 1984 as far as dystopian literature; was really glad that I finally got around to reading this GN. Would like to see more classics in GN form - a very fine adaptation of this important work.
Profile Image for Not My High.
249 reviews664 followers
February 2, 2023
Była wciągająca, ale
a) nie wiem dlaczego wydaje ją młodzieżowe wydawnictwo
b) nie do końca jestem fanką kreski
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,187 followers
December 21, 2019
4 stars!

The Handmaid’s Tale was a book I read when I was in high school and it’s a book I love very dearly. When this graphic novel came out I was skeptical but I saw lots of positive reviews and gave it a shot. I won’t rehash the plot because there’s the book and the show. But what this novel added was fresh color and almost an abbreviated version of the book. I thought the art was beautiful and it was a quick read.
Profile Image for annelitterarum.
221 reviews1,428 followers
April 10, 2022
Les dessins WOW l’histoire finit drôlement je me demande si c’est exactement l’histoire originale? J’ai l’impression d’avoir passé un bon moment et d’avoir apprécié les différents thèmes et ce qui fait réfléchir mais j’ai aussi l’impression que je devrais écouter beaucoup d’analyses pour réellement comprendre au fond des choses. Malheureusement pas particulièrement envie de lire le roman 💀
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,578 followers
August 30, 2020
“Pain marks you, but too deep to see.”

representation: characters of colour, lesbian side character.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was a fantastic adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. The art style was absolutely perfect for the story and it was seamlessly told in this condensed version.

trigger warnings: rape, kidnapping, torture (both psychological and physical), police brutality, a totalitarian government, institutionalized misogyny, murder, infant mortality of all kinds, and suicide (trigger warnings taken from https://alphamom.com/parenting/big-ki...).
Profile Image for Ilana.
604 reviews163 followers
February 9, 2020
Excellent adaptation of this novel I’ve read three or four times by now. I loved the artwork and some scenes were conveyed very effectively with the bold use of the ever-present red colour which defines the handmaids with their red uniforms. Terrifying how timely this story is nowadays, with religious fanatics in the US and elsewhere taking away women’s rights to choose. I fervently hope this remains a purely fictional story. 4.5
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,602 reviews2,571 followers
January 23, 2020
Controversial opinion alert: don't bother (re)reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Read this instead. (And then don’t bother with The Testaments either.) It conveys the credible creepiness of Atwood’s novel, incorporates all the best lines, and makes highly effective use of contrasting colors and busy versus stark scenes. There are a lot of words on some pages, more than usual for a graphic novel, but that might make this a good place to start for someone who is new to graphic novels and/or unsure about them.
Profile Image for Carol.
270 reviews25 followers
March 17, 2019
Praise be. The classic Margaret Atwood cautionary tale has finally been adapted as a graphic novel, and it is perfection.

The spare art style emphasizes color (especially red and blue) and the facial expressions convey much even when words aren't possible. I really can't say enough about the illustrations: they evoke even more haunting, chilling doom than words alone can achieve.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
Profile Image for Martini_tnt.
358 reviews31 followers
May 26, 2021
Świetne, jeśli można tak powiedzieć o tej powieści graficznej, ponieważ sama historia jest przerażająca. Czuję niedosyt i kiedyś na pewno sięgnę po wersję książkową.
Profile Image for Tomasz.
412 reviews769 followers
September 25, 2022
Świetnie się to czyta w tej formie, bardzo dobra adaptacja z piękną warstwą wizualną. Koncepcja przedstawienia postaci i niektórych zdarzeń różni się dość wyraźnie i od pierwowzoru, i od adaptacji serialowej, ale kupuję tę wersję w całości. Zdecydowanie najbardziej przystępna forma tej historii, z którą miałem do tej pory do czynienia.
Profile Image for Rey.
259 reviews1,204 followers
December 4, 2020
eo ơi siêuuuu hay siêuuuu đẹp luôn mà cũng đủ các chi tiết trọng điểm nói chung là mê
Profile Image for David.
601 reviews128 followers
August 25, 2019
While still not a huge fan of the graphic novel form, I'm warming to it. And this is the best one I have read so far. The artwork is of such high quality. It supports the novel well without visually swamping Atwood's very controlled dystopian world. I found myself turning the pages rather obssessively because I was compelled to see what Nault had created next.

It was not possible to determine just when this version of The Handmaid's Tale is set. Offred remembers strolling along with Luke, carrying Starbucks coffee with java jackets, which makes it post-1995. Yet the "electric cattle prods" the Aunts carry look like basic riding crops. In the end it just didn't matter. As futuristic as the novel itself felt when first published in 1986, this horrific and cautionary tale feels even more plausible today. A shocking, sickening state of affairs.
Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews244 followers
June 6, 2020
“Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.”

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel is truly a work of art. This was my first time ever reading a graphic novel and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find this kind of format enjoyable but I was so wrong. Having already read The Handmaid’s Tale, I found this graphic novel a perfect way to retell the story. The art by Renee Nault, the colour schemes, the actual illustrations, the font used for the writing, the choice of which scenes were depicted, everything was done so meticulously and perfectly and was blended so well together that it flowed really well. This was my first graphic novel but it definitely won’t be my last.
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books781 followers
October 25, 2019
I haven’t watched the television series and I’m not going to read the sequel. But with handmaids’ talk in the air, and my not feeling inclined to reread the original novel, when I heard of the graphic novel’s existence, I immediately got it from the library.

I read the original novel when it came out in paperback (1986? 87?), and I didn’t have high expectations because of finding it in an airport bookstore and my not having read anything by Atwood before then. I remember being absorbed by it and finishing it in record time, though not before my flight landed. I doubt I found it as scarily prescient, or as freshly relevant, then as I do now.

I don’t remember enough of the original novel to say if anything has been changed in this adaptation, but I’m guessing not much, except for necessary condensation, as with the main character’s relationship with her owners’ chauffeur; the “historical note” at the end; and there not being full explanations of several concepts.

The art of the adaptation is chilling in that much of it matches my memory of what I visualized as I read the novel so many years ago. Before finishing this, I made myself put down the book for the night, but then felt it calling me back. So I finished it later that night, maybe in record time, almost feeling rushed by its ending. It cannot replace the novel, in fact it makes me want to reread it, but it was a haunting refresher.
Profile Image for Celeste   Corrêa .
280 reviews139 followers
March 21, 2020
Gostei mais da novela gráfica do que do livro.
A divisão em capítulos, as ilustrações, as cores e os textos são mais vívidos, se possível.
Em todas as páginas perpassa o sofrimento desta história.
O final pareceu-me também mais entendível.

«Se isto é o meu fim ou um novo
começo, não tenho como sabê-lo:

entreguei-me às mãos de desconhecidos,
porque não há nada a fazer.

E por isso subo, para a escuridão interior; ou para a luz.»

Espero que a continuação de «A História de uma Serva», que ainda não li, venha também a ter a sua novela gráfica.

Na verdade, estou a tornar-me muita próxima das adaptações gráficas de grandes livros, e constato que há já alguns bons títulos disponíveis.
Profile Image for Laly Arce Chumpitassi.
426 reviews362 followers
April 4, 2022
Disfruté muchísimo de este nuevo formato de El cuento de la criada. Duele igual que la novela regular 🥺 y sigo pensando que es una historia que todxs deberíamos leer.
Profile Image for Vanessa Teixeira.
177 reviews
March 31, 2020
Que história... Adorei a graphic novel, mas quero muito ler o romance original — acho que terá outro impacto!
Profile Image for Krista.
1,366 reviews541 followers
March 9, 2021
Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.

With Margaret Atwood's The Testaments being released and making a splash this year, I decided to refresh myself on the story of The Handmaid's Tale without actually rereading The Handmaid's Tale - hence, the graphic novel adaptation. I won't comment on the content of this story, just the adaptation, and while admitting that I'm no expert on graphic novels, I will say that Renée Nault tells a satisfying story, complete with lushly beautiful and engaging watercolour pictures. And while I did enjoy the artwork (and in particular the variety of viewpoints and the ways in which the Handmaids' wardrobe would bust through the frames in waves of bloody red), the AV Club in their review complained, "Everything is too pretty and delicate and aesthetically pleasing to instill the sense of fear this story deserves". Reading that after the fact I can see the reviewer's point, but I will stick with four stars and consider myself refreshed enough to tackle Atwood's follow up.


None of that looks "too pretty" to me.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,578 reviews

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