Sheila's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, literature, womens-issues

It’s so easy to look at the sins of the past and say we’re past all that now. Maybe we look at the sins and cruelties of another country and pat ourselves on the back. But Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale reminds us, in fiction, of how close society must always be to collapse. Those things we hold so right and true might always be turned against us, and deepening disaster can result in cruel response under the guise of protection.

There’s lots of cruelty in the Handmaid’s Tale. But there’s lots of genuine humanity too. The author creates a society not so very different from our own, gives it rules that are surely Biblical yet not the ones we’ve chosen, and slowly reveals the reason how that world might grow from ours. The narration draws the reader in, making characters real, then filling in backstories that feel achingly true, then adding fears and politics and more.

Surprise in the ending threw me suddenly out of the tale and into questions—a reminder perhaps that I should have been asking questions all along. Could we end up there? Why, or why not? And how will we know what direction we’re moving in.

A parable of the future, a warning for the present, and an enthralling tale, I’m really glad I finally got around to reading this!

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy and loved it.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 10, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 25, 2018 – Shelved
May 25, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
May 25, 2018 – Shelved as: literature
May 25, 2018 – Shelved as: womens-issues

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