Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*'s Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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it was amazing
bookshelves: lit, favorites, 2014, read-count-2, re-read, 2017
Read 2 times. Last read April 7, 2017 to September 13, 2017.

7/7/17 I'm just going to leave this here.... fuck Paul Ryan.... but not literally, ew.

Sleeveless women? My stars and garters!

03/31/17. So, this Russia thing.... Am I right?

2/5/17.....just another giant step towards making this book a reality, like they always dreamed of.

Original review written in 2o12:

WARNING: This review is being written after I worked a 13 hour day, with another one on the horizon tomorrow, and a glass of wine and while watching the Rachel Maddow show. Current events have put this book on the forefront of my mind, and damn it I got to get this out.

I have never written a review on The Handmaid's Tale because I love the book, and it is so hard to write about a book you love.

Ehh, what the hell.

OfFred was a normal everyday woman with a career, a name, a life like all women have come to expect and take for granted in this age. When the Religious Right came into power, they began to put into practice their insane beliefs which strip women of their identity, their rights, their body, their very name. Women are to be called Of(whatever asshat they belong to), instead of, say Beatrix. Reproduction is an issue because all the toxins in the environment have rendered many women infertile. But if you are fertile, woe to you, you get to be a baby factory against your will, get promised to some jerk you don’t love or even like because someone deemed him important enough to breed. Oh, come on!

This book was written in 1986, FYI. I thought it was scary and sort of possible when I first read it, but farfetched. This could NEVER happen in the United States of America. Never would it be allowed to happen here, we are too educated.


So………


I turn on the news (in twothousandandfrikntwelve) and certain religious factions on the right are trying to defund Planned Parenthood, because they perform abortions which is only 3% of what they do (with NO federal $ going towards them). Mostly PP provides healthcare to women who wouldn't get it otherwise………..icky poor women.

Now it’s birth control? Seriously? Birth control??????? Did I wake up in 1950? Am I stuck in a Atwood novel? 98% of Catholic women (technically I’m one of them) use/used birth control. Even they are asking WTF?

I’m not sure what these people are trying to do. There are more women than men and we vote……unless that’s the next right on the chopping block.

------------------------------------------------------------

There have several updates to this review that I have removed to make room for the next. what follows is the most recent one.

------------------------------------------------------------
It’s been nearly a week since the unimaginable happened and I had to let the shock wear off before I could put a coherent, non-rage filled update on this review. Not that I don’t have rage, I have plenty to spare, but I think it’s now at a level that is manageable enough for me not to just type out a string of obscenities. That being said…

Update 11/14/16: An unqualified, racist, xenophobic, sexist, pathological liar, psychopathic reality star was elected to be the 45th president of the United States and the leader of the free world.

FUCK!

The United States has officially shat the bed. Few foresaw it, but in hindsight, it was coming down the road for a very long time. The United (divided) States voted for Hillary Clinton on whole (popular vote) by over 2,000,000 votes and counting (millions are still out in California, for example), yet Donald Trump is our president elect (gag) due to an antiquated electoral college system (which I could explain, but I’m not because Google can do that better than I can.) Now, I’m all for ditching the electoral college, unless the electors decide to do what it was intended to do under this circumstance; to save us from ourselves. See, our founding fathers knew that we would fall for some con artist, demagogue at some point in the future, so they wisely created the electoral college, a group of actual human beings trusted upon to stop such a calamity. I implore the folks of current electoral college recognize this election as a collective loss of sanity of less than a quarter of the population of this nation, and on December 19th put their votes towards the popular vote winner, Hillary Clinton. I realize that this is unlikely, but one can dream.

How did this happen? There are many factors involved. Lots of opportunity for pointing fingers and fighting amongst ourselves, which I will admit to being a party to…..guilty. But, in my opinion, what it boils down to is these four things: Division, misinformation, apathy and fear of the ‘other’.

Division: We are all in our own comfortable bubbles, digesting the information we are most comfortable with. For example, I never believed there was this much hate it this country because I didn't want to look at it; I knew it was there of course, but not at the level that it appears to be. Everyone wants to live where they feel they belong. Amongst those that are like minded and reaffirm your very rightness. Liberals don’t want to live in Indiana (or Ohio….sigh) any more than a conservative want’s to live in Washington state. We even do this in our social media as well (guilty again). This is what messed us up with the electoral college.

Misinformation: I am not going to tell you who’s right or wrong here, I’ll let this study speak for itself.

Apathy: Half…HALF… the country didn’t vote. You guys suck.

Fear of the other: This country harbors more racism than I can comprehend. The white people in this country seemed a little angry about the black man in the white house and the white men were staunchly determined not to have a woman (white or not) follow him. I don’t mean all white men, just too many of them (chill.) “The advantage for Trump among men is larger than the 7-point advantage Romney had in 2012 and much different than in 2008, when men preferred Obama over McCain by a single point.”-PewResearchCenter. But then there are the white women, 53% went for Trump…..oh my sisters, I have no words.

Which brings me to the reason why this update is relevant to this review and to this book (for those who tell me that my opinion is unwarranted....again.) Is the United States a more racist country, or a more sexist country? America has spoken, at least the ones who cared to speak, and the answer is “a goodly amount of both”, but in this election sexism won and women lost.
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Quotes Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Liked

Margaret Atwood
“Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale


Reading Progress

April 15, 2008 – Shelved
January 1, 2010 – Shelved as: lit
January 1, 2010 – Shelved as: favorites
September 14, 2014 – Started Reading
September 20, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
September 20, 2014 – Shelved as: read-count-2
September 20, 2014 – Shelved as: re-read
September 20, 2014 – Finished Reading
April 7, 2017 – Started Reading
April 7, 2017 –
page 0
0.0% "..... the special addition."
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017
September 13, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 1,129 (1129 new)


message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen I loved this review.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Thanks Stephen.....I'm a little angry....and tired.


message 3: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Sorry to hear about the 13 hour days, especially back to back. Hang in there.


Wicked Incognito Now What was really disturbing in this book is that women who had had abortions in the past, and were unmarried, were the women who became the baby whores for these men. Because they were clearly sinners who didn't deserve the dignity of regular marriage or to be able to raise any children produced.


message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Religion = evil.

I can't abide these right-wingers on so many fronts, but this latest bit is so insane as to be terrifying.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Richard wrote: "Religion = evil.

I can't abide these right-wingers on so many fronts, but this latest bit is so insane as to be terrifying."


Richard=correct!


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus *bows*


Robert The Catholic Church has always been about control, hasn't it?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Richard wrote: "Religion = evil.

I can't abide these right-wingers on so many fronts, but this latest bit is so insane as to be terrifying."


Agreed.

I haven't read this book, though I do recall seeing some of the movie, and at the time my reaction was that this could happen if we (the people of the U.S.) let it.


message 10: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Robert wrote: "The Catholic Church has always been about control, hasn't it?"

Its history suggests you're correct...plus consider how rapidly the church grew after it became the only translocal institution in Western Europe after 410CE.


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus John wrote: "Richard wrote: "Religion = evil.

I can't abide these right-wingers on so many fronts, but this latest bit is so insane as to be terrifying."

Agreed.

I haven't read this book, though I do ..."


I fear it's more likely to be, it WILL happen unless we PREVENT it.


SubterraneanCatalyst This book, I've rated it really low. I feel guilty for doing that but I rate strictly based on my own enjoyment. I have a category for that- I think it's "Technically good but boring" and some variations on that theme. Although, I do not begrudge anyone at all for enjoying it whatsoever! It was just hard for me to read and it made me extremely angry.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Robert wrote: "The Catholic Church has always been about control, hasn't it?"

Yes it has. But I thought we had a separation of church and state in this country.....let's not forget Christianity isn't the only religion in the U.S. either. so law makers should not be giving this ANY attention. This crap makes me so mad I could spit nails!


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* John wrote: "Richard wrote: "Religion = evil.

I can't abide these right-wingers on so many fronts, but this latest bit is so insane as to be terrifying."

Agreed.

I haven't read this book, though I do ..."


So true. I'm afraid it's possible we could let it.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* SubterraneanCatalyst wrote: "This book, I've rated it really low. I feel guilty for doing that but I rate strictly based on my own enjoyment. I have a category for that- I think it's "Technically good but boring" and some var..."

Sub-Cat you get to like/dislike any book you choose. I don't like books many find great, but I do believe the book was ment to make you mad.


Robert Obama doesn't look keen to let it happen.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Kat wrote: "Enjoyed your rant (ode to freedom), Steph!

P.S. Hope your work schedule eases up soon."


I have been known to rant with the best of them! When I'm tired and a little drunk it gets amplified. My work schedule will ease......it ebbs and flows.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Robert wrote: "Obama doesn't look keen to let it happen."

No......he won't let it slide. The Republicans are just grasping for anything at this point, hence this debate.


Robert This Republican/Christian Right Wing alliance scares me witless.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Robert wrote: "This Republican/Christian Right Wing alliance scares me witless."

As well it should.


Regina Great review. My first baby was delivered by a midwife provided through Planned Parenthood and my pregnancy well care was provided through Planned Parenthood -- they also deliver babies for women who can't otherwise afford care (I was in law school at the time). It is amazing how the other services PP performs are overlooked.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Great review. My first baby was delivered by a midwife provided through Planned Parenthood and my pregnancy well care was provided through Planned Parenthood -- they also deliver babies for women w..."

Thanks Regina! Those services are overlooked because it would impossible to vilify Planned Parenthood then.


Regina Of course. Definitely.

Walking in to PP 8-9 months pregnant definitely got a noisy response from the ever present protesters waiting outside the doors. :)


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Of course. Definitely.

Walking in to PP 8-9 months pregnant definitely got a noisy response from the ever present protesters waiting outside the doors. :)"


Oh I bet.....they were clueless that women actually gave birth to babies they wanted there. Boggles the mind.


Nancy I think America is a nation of paradoxes. There a lot of people who are educated and tolerant, and others whose lives are ruled by ignorance and superstition. I don't think the right-wing extremists have a shot...yet. But it scares me that these people do have supporters, even if it is just 5-10% of the population. Nice review, Stephanie. Now go get some rest!


Regina Stephanie wrote: "Oh I bet.....they were clueless that women actually gave birth to babies they wanted there. Boggles the mind. "

In my experience, it was an organization that provided women who could not otherwise afford a midwife the opportunity to birth with one (many state medicaid plans do not cover them) and provided to women who might not otherwise be exposed to healthcare practitioners who give them practical advice about nutrition, breastfeeding, and labor coping techniques -- this information was offered and shared. Basically, an attempt at franchising the disenfranchised.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Nancy wrote: "I think America is a nation of paradoxes. There a lot of people who are educated and tolerant, and others whose lives are ruled by ignorance and superstition. I don't think the right-wing extremi..."

No Nancy, they don't have a shot if they think people aren't fond of birth control........many, many men are fans of it as well, so I am confused about this whole strategy. I have heard that the President (being the ninja that he is) new full well the Right would go ape dump over this (because they do over everything he does, no matter what is), had a compromise in the wings, that was better than what he first put out there.........and exposed them for the duffeses they are.


Regina I am not as optimistic as you are, they might not have a chance at influencing national policies but they do at the state level, which can be a different game all together.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "Oh I bet.....they were clueless that women actually gave birth to babies they wanted there. Boggles the mind. "

In my experience, it was an organization that provided women who..."


Planned Parenthood rocks! Susan G Kommen does not.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "I am not as optimistic as you are, they might not have a chance at influencing national policies but they do at the state level, which can be a different game all together."

True! We got that Kasich here Ohio. Tried to mess with the working people with SB5 and he got faced last November. Unfortunately, we have no way of recalling him, but we are trying to change that law. When people are actually affected by a poor choice like him.......they realize all the poo they thought they were for is nothing but a pile of said poo.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Update: 2/14/12

Apparently this stupid war on birth control and women’s health continues. Congress wants to put it in the hands of States (what else is new) and employers to decide what to cover based on their own fucked up morality. Does this mean that if your employer decides that if you get an STD it’s your own damn fault, blame yourself, suffer and die……..no medicine for you? Wow. I still don’t get why they are doing this.

I’m beginning to think Margaret Atwood is a psychic.


message 32: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus This, Miss Stephanie, is what comes of electing States' RIghts and Libertarian idiot asshats to positions of power.

Revolution. Soon.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Richard wrote: "This, Miss Stephanie, is what comes of electing States' RIghts and Libertarian idiot asshats to positions of power.

Revolution. Soon."


I don't doubt it.


Sallee Excellent review and also a great tie to current events. When I read this in 1986, I couldn't sleep for days after bc I was so sure this was where we were headed. I downloaded from the library tonight to read again and refresh and, yes, just the same only much much more true to life! And terrifying and infuriating.


message 35: by Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* (last edited Feb 17, 2012 10:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Sallee wrote: "Excellent review and also a great tie to current events. When I read this in 1986, I couldn't sleep for days after bc I was so sure this was where we were headed. I downloaded from the library toni..."

Oh I know.....I want to re-read it again, but my head may explode. Thanks!


Robert Anyone seen the film Wag the Dog? When it was released it seemed proposterously over the top. Now it seems like a lame poke at how news is manipulated...

(I was reminded by the suggested "prophetic" nature of The Handmaid's Tail.)


Jessica T. Wow . I read this book recently and have been thinking the same thing.


Regina Stephanie wrote: "I’m beginning to think Margaret Atwood is a psychic. "

Well Atwood was writing in response to what was happening in the US (even though she is not from the US) during the 1970s and 1980s and when it was released, this book was very timely. Remember the Christian right movement in the 1980s and early 1990s? Rush Limbaugh's huge popularity at that time? For me, it is even sadder that she touched on points that are being presented today is that these same issues have been cycling through our society for decades. We are fighting this same fight over and over and over.

Part of me thinks that politicians revive this fight because it keeps both sides in business. It is an easy way to divide lines. So lots of people are unemployed, people are hungry, foreclosures are at a high point, more and more American women are dying giving birth in the US, we have high rates of failure to thrive and infant deaths -- but yeah, lets focus on this I can't help but feel that it is presenting "easy" issues to certain constituents when politicians know that ultimately such laws (if passed) would be struck down by the supreme court, and this is done instead of tackling less black and white issues that politicians don't want to address. Yup I am cynical and frustrated.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "I’m beginning to think Margaret Atwood is a psychic. "

Well Atwood was writing in response to what was happening in the US (even though she is not from the US) during the 1970s a..."


Why wouldn't you be? The Republicans are NEVER going to reverse (or even try) Rowe (sp?) vrs. Wade, never. It's too great of a wedge issue.

I remember when I was a kid before Saint Reagan became president, I don't remember things being as religious as they are now. No one I know was big into church, it was a chore. It was a more reasonable time. Those reasonable moments seem to come and go. Our founding fathers were reasonable, none where extremely Christian. Jefferson wrote his own bible minus all the magical and crazy stuff and put in only what Jesus said. It's pretty eye opening.

Call me happy clapy but, I believe we are on the edge of a big change that only hard times can bring about. An age of reason may be on the horizon......I hope.


message 40: by Regina (last edited Feb 21, 2012 07:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Regina Maybe it is defined too by who we know and knew. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was overwhelmed by how many fundamentals I knew. 1993 was when the right pushed through so many republican senators (they had a majority) and had their "contract with America". During that same time a same sex romantic kiss couldn't even be shown on TV. And we have the issue of marriage equality being won in state after state. I do think it was "worse" then. Where I live and work now is an extremely progressive and liberal place. But I chose it on purpose. So maybe I am living in a bubble. (if I am I have to say that I love it here!) But i see what is happening now as election year posturing and as an attempt to chip away at Obama.

What I do think is worse right now is racism and xenophobia as evidenced by what is happening in Arizona, Louisianna, and Missippi. But the federal government is largely ignroing it.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Maybe it is defined too by who we know and knew. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was overwhelmed by how many fundamentals I knew. 1993 was when the right pushed through so many republican sena..."

I'm Jealous of your location. I have lived in many areas of the country. Progressive ones, and very not so much.....I definitely liked the progressive ones best. Ohio is very much a mini U.S. Industrial in the north (where I am), more cities...more progressive areas can be found. Farms in the middle....and then you have the south and Boehner country. Yikes. An even mix over all.


Regina Man, I just saw my previous posts -- so many typos when I post from my phone. I wonder though, Stephanie, if that puts you in a better position. Maybe you have a better thumb on the pulse of what is happening than I do? I live in a community that supposedly has the highest number of integrated couples per capita and the highest number of same-sex couples with kids. And then each block and each school has diverse in terms of race and economics (compared with how some communities may be diverse, but it isn't by block or by school -- or their are pockets). I sometimes wonder if it is good for my kids to grow up in such an idealic place -- they have no way to prepare and train to deal with racism (my kids are mixed-race), but where I grew up (rural farm/factory town, much like what you describe in your post), I had to deal with it and develop strong opinions from the beginning. Anyway, OT, sorry to ramble.


message 43: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Hays just to add another point of view... abortion is murder! while it is anyones decision to use birth control or not, it is not fair to expect someone who's religious beliefs go against its use to pay for it for who ever wants it. I am not saying that PP is all bad, but neither are all right wingers or conservatives. If women have the right to abort their babies, or as someone put it go get an STD and the gov not give them medicine or a procedure to "fix" the problem you think that would be wrong. I think if you are stupid and uneducated enough to not protect yourself and get an STD, no we the people should not have to pay for your stupidity. Furthermore abortion should be stopped. You give up the "your body" claim because someone elses body is inside your body. No matter how small and insignificant they may seem to the selfish women who live only to please themselves, they are a person with rights just like everyone else. We all gasp when we hear of someone throwing their newborn in a trashcan, but that is what happens everyday at abortion clinics. Thank you for your review though, it let me know to never read this book. The true tragedy of humankind is people who think killing babies is fine, and we should all live to please ourselves never having concern for someone else. Let the gov't take care of our every need, cause we deserve it...blah disgusting!


message 44: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus You give up the "your body" claim because someone elses body is inside your body.

1) The possessive apostrophe is missing in this sentence. Do you know where it should go?

2) Why? Your argument assumes agreement. Why exactly should your point of view be taken as fact?

3) You're an idiot.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Mandy wrote: "just to add another point of view... abortion is murder! while it is anyones decision to use birth control or not, it is not fair to expect someone who's religious beliefs go against its use to pay..."

Mandy,

1. I'm reluctant to respond because I could write an entire book to you on how much wrong it just spewed.

2. It has been my experience that a great majority (not all)of the people on the right and/or religious see things purely as black and white. There are many reasons why women get abortions, none of which is your business because it is not your body, but abortions save lives. Many abortions happen between a doctor and their patients to save the life of the mother (an agonizing decision)......but I guess her life DOES NOT have worth to you.

3. Please explain to me why people for whom you speak, only love love love human beings until they pass the lips of the vagina. Once they are born, well hell, now they are icky, poor and probably brown people who now DO NOT deserve to live. Stupid baby, born to stupid poor people....what were you thinking????? Make up your minds! If you are pro life then god dammit don't bitch about helping those who need it because you flipping insisted on their birth!!!

4. Don't ever get an abortion, that is your CHOICE. But I would like to add please don't breed either.

5. Please see post #45, #3....now go away.


Tracy Wow. This distresses me so much that a discussion like this is necessary in 2012. It hurts me. I've never had an abortion but I totally support a woman's right to have if she desires it. I think women should have access to birth control, I think it should be free and I think they should have access to education that teaches them how to use it appropriately. Children should be wanted not punishment. I'm furious that the Republican party has hijacked this issue in a cynical attempt to get votes. But I have no say because I'm Canadian. So I hope that every American who feels strongly on this issue will get out there and vote. I remember reading this book years ago and feeling enraged. A woman's decision to have a child should be between her and her doctor. Women should have the right to control their own bodies. I could go on and on. And I'm sorry to be rude Mandy but you are a fool. Thank you all of you beautiful people for letting me be privy to this discussion.


Regina Mandy wrote: "I think if you are stupid and uneducated enough to not protect yourself and get an STD, no we the people should not have to pay for your stupidity."

Stupid and uneducated enough to not protect yourself? Hmm, I am just trying to think out the ramifications of what you are suggesting. Because really, when public policy is enacted or funds are cut on public policies the not-stupid and not-uneducated thing to do is to trace out what the potential ramifications of such policies would be and also to figure out who this would effect and why people are seeking the funds. You have a theory. The people seeking the funds are stupid and uneducated. Okay. Should stupid and uneducated people suffer from illnesses that can cause death and infertility simply because they do not have access to low cost medical treatment? And, I haven’t looked at the studies recently and maybe you have (but you don’t cite to any), I have my doubts that people who get STDs are all “stupid and uneducated”. Perhaps there are individuals that do protect themselves and still gets a STD. Perhaps a person may get a STD in the event of a rape. Perhaps there are people who believe they are in a faithful and monogamous relationship, but they still get a STD. And sometimes people just make mistakes. (I know you don't make mistakes, perhaps beyond grammar errors, but some people do make mistakes.) But what I believe is the “why” of why people get STDs should not prevent them access to low cost medical care because in terms of treatment (not prevention, but treatment), the why is much less important. If people are not treated then public health problems result on a large scale. It is hard to parse out what you are actually proposing, but I think what you are saying is that people who cannot afford to get treated for illnesses that are contagious and can be spread easily to other people and children (if the person is a pregnant woman), then tough - -the diseases should just spread. The ramifications of what you suggest is that the infected person should just continue to spread the STD to other people and other children, no treatment is deserved and a public health risk is okay in this situation because, well anyone who gets a STD is stupid and uneducated (regardless of whether they did protect themselves, they were raped, they thought their partner was faithful, or they made a mistake). I disagree. I cannot imagine anything good coming out of that.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Tracy wrote: "Wow. This distresses me so much that a discussion like this is necessary in 2012. It hurts me. I've never had an abortion but I totally support a woman's right to have if she desires it. I think wo..."

Well said.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Mandy wrote: "I think if you are stupid and uneducated enough to not protect yourself and get an STD, no we the people should not have to pay for your stupidity."

Stupid and uneducated enough to n..."


You are my hero.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Regina wrote: "Mandy wrote: "I think if you are stupid and uneducated enough to not protect yourself and get an STD, no we the people should not have to pay for your stupidity."

Stupid and uneducated enough to n..."


You are my hero.


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