Natalie
Natalie asked:

What age group would you recommend this for?

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Petra In all honesty I read this book when I was 13 and didn't find it difficult to grasp. People belittle the intelligence of middlegraders. If a middle grader is interested in the book he is old enough to understand and grasp the meaning. If he isn't ready he will left the book unfinished.
Liam Murray High school or older. It discusses deep political ideas like freedom of religion, gender equality, criminal justice, sexuality, suicide and manipulation of the media/press... ideas that kids who haven't reached in high school are just barely beginning to grasp, now that they've just gotten the hang of morality.
Heather King I read this in HS and was "old enough", but didn't have enough life experience to feel the full horror of it. It's much, much more chilling to read as an adult and as a mother.
Nicole E This is a book for strong readers... maturity is more importance than age, but I think a mature, highly literate 16-year-old would grasp a lot of what the book has to offer and have an interesting and very different interpretation than an adult. This is definitely one to be re-read at different stages.
Beth High school at the youngest because there is some heavy stuff along with depictions of sex and violence, though I think both are written without being excessively graphic or crass. However, as long as one is old enough to handle the themes, I don't believe there is a range. I was a teenager the first time I read it and I am at the end of my twenties now. I have read it with pleasure four times, getting new things out of it with each read. I don't expect I will ever outgrow it.
Karl Kindt It features women being forcibly raped in a very prominent way, so whatever age group you think this is good for.
Ohpistachio I am actually shock at how heavy some of the topics are in this novel. It is beautifully written but I could not see myself understanding it even in high school.
Katie My only concern with giving it to a kid under the age of 15 would be the way sex is represented. It's sort of graphic. And while the author is purposely writing about an unnatural sexual relationship, a pre-teen might not get that yet. But you have to know the audience. Some pre-teens could certainly appreciate this book. I don't think many would though. In my opinion, MOST teens under the age of 17 or 18 just wouldn't care.
Melinda Gentry I would say their senior year of highschool, that is when I read it and I found it fascinating. I was also in the library about 24/7, so I was also shocked that I had never came across it. It is a great book but it should definitely be followed up with a lot of group discussion to explain the deep concepts.
Mistake (Yes So you guys, I read this book for health at school (I'm 10 btw) because my teacher said it had good content for our sexual intercourse unit. I found it easy to read and very educational. My BFF read it tho and like she said she couldn't understand a word lol!! But she is like kind of dumb so yeah . By u guys
Jonathan Iwanski I'm not done with this one yet, but Atwood writes at a very, very low level. That is really her catering to her audience, though. As a teacher, I am certain many middle-schoolers can out-write what the author has done here. To get into mass-market paperbacks so quickly and have any shot at best-seller status, the industry pushes you to aim for a third-grade reading level. That is a fact. The author is truly doing that here. Third graders mayn't understand all the themes (and not just from the author's jumpy prose style), but they will grasp the story enough to follow along and have a discussion about the main plot lines.
Melissa I still have about 100 pages left but I think easily high school. We ask ourselves why students lack empathy or seem vapid and perhaps because we aren't asking them to think about real issues when they are beginning to form these personal opinions.
Manon High school. Kids see much worse on tv and real life than the scenes here now with the Drumph running for Prez. Pence even tried to pass a law requiring all fetuses have a funeral or some such thing. I read this in my early 20's and thought it was a great book/story. I am re-reading it now at 50 and see the parallels to today's society (or, attempted parallels) is scary. Ms. Atwood, you are an amazing and profound writer.
Julian Gilder I read in my 30's, but it was an A Level Eng Lit set text, so I should think anyone from teenager up would get a lot from this text. I know that I really enjoyed it.
Paula I started to read it when I was about 14, it was a bit much for me then, so I stopped. But it did stick with me and I read the book in my early 20's. I would say it is one that I will read throughout my life. I saw they are making it into a series for Hulu. I will have to reread before watching,
Christina I was also in my teens when I first read this. Maybe 12. It was first published when I was 10.
Vanessa Van Helsing Honestly I think that there are some people in this world who would like to see this situation become a reality. I think it's really perverted.
Alxandra Simply put, this book is for adults, and it requires a high level of maturity. There are two topics that drive this: trauma and women's equality. The women's equality issues could be understood and read by a younger reader (middle school, even.) In addition, the book details multiple traumatic events as a first person experience. The structure of the book reinforces this. For instance, the book is non-linear and many of the scenes are "snapshots." , i.e. they are brief, vivid experiences. Whether a reader can handle the trauma will be very individual and not something well-bounded by an age group.
Janet Like someone else mentioned, age is not the best way to determine who should read this book. I just became aware today that this is a book, not just a series. If the book is not highly different from the series, I would recommend this to a young adult and older IF they understand the government, political processes, the right to choose, intimacy, abusive behavior, the concept of being a feminist, sexual identity, and Biblical context. If they don't have a good grasp on those concepts, there is no point in reading it because the purpose of the novel escapes the reader. In addition, if they don't have a good grasp, this may terrify them.

An added note for me with my kids: I don't doubt their abilities. It is BECAUSE of it that I restrict certain reads. I'm nearing 50 and when we were growing up, life was simple. Today offers so much for children to process and vivid images along with those concepts, that I don't feel it is wise to offer too much too soon.
Christine I would say high school. But only you know how your child would handle something so dystopian and depressing. Could even cause nightmares frankly.
Vicki Marcondes I read this as a 15 year old, and it was very hard for me to swallow. I was required to read it for English class, which made it an even more emotional struggle. I think it truly depends on the person and how mature they are. If I was to pick an age though, I would say 16 and up.
Kristina It's not a matter of age. I know some 40 yr olds who couldn't grasp the complexities of this book. A mature reader, even a younger teenager, could (and should) read this book. I would also say once it's been read once, wait a few years, read it again. It's an incredibly complex book and every time I read it (just finished my third reading) I discover something new.
Shelley college or post college-age
Abigail Nawrot 12 year olds and younger are immature and cannot fully comprehend emotional issues, they just don't have enough experience. Once they hit about 13, they begin to understand. That's the border line-- but if you really want to milk the book, I'd suggest best for 16 and older. It really depends on each individual's maturity, but if someone younger than 16 reads it, they are unlikely to get all of it.
I'm not yet 16, but as an avid book nerd, I can fully agree that the only reason I get as much out of books as I do is because I'm analytical to another dimension.
John I think 16+ is a reasonable age target, depending on maturity. It's great if you're an intelligent, mature middle-schooler, but it's also probably a safe bet that you don't quite have the life experience and emotional intelligence to really process heavy themes like rape, morality and social justice. I first read this at 13 and while I 'understood' it, it wasn't until I re-read it in college that I finally 'got' it.
Francesc Definitely 18. 17 if the reader is very mature.
Stephanie 13 and above. It explores multiple issues. I wish it was required reading.
Margeau I think younger people can read it if interested, but it might have more of an impact on older readers. Not to mention the mature themes; I mean, most of it is more or less centered on sexuality.
Sheryl Cruzan This book could be read by a ten yr old. It dosnt mean that they grasp the nuisances of it. Also peoples perceptions change as they do. I think to read this book at a younger age then again at say 60. It will seem a lot different. Just as we all change constantly. Especially with age. I think college age would be a good time to read it the first time.
Stephanie I would recommend middle school. The student will only continue reading if they actually understand the material. It has a lot of in-depth and abstract ideas. Students in middle school are in transition from concrete to non-concrete thinking (Piaget). This is the age they begin learning to think abstractly and consider information out side the tangible world.

However, I would also consider the child's maturity before recommending. This is a heavy book, full of political and social issues and ideas that may confuse and even scare a child. I would explain what a dystopian novel is to the child, as this may alleviate a lot of the concern.
X I mean it's not really aimed at teens but a lot of teens could handle it. I might slightly hesitate to share it with anyone 12 or younger, but it depends on the individual.
Lii If this would be read and discussed in the middle/high school the students would gain a great knowledge into such topics and start seeing the world really and not just superficially.
Mickey I'd suggest 18 years or older. The ideas involved in this include gender equality, political issues, strong themes of suicide with suicidal characters and different ways to commit suicide, sexuality, media manipulation and propaganda. It also includes a lot of rape and sex. I'd think that anyone under the age of 18 shouldn't be exposed to these kinds of themes, nor do I think they'd be able to grasp the depth of the story on the same level that a mature adult would.
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by Margaret Atwood (Goodreads Author)
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