Lyn's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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it was amazing

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a brilliant, endearing, scary as hell book.

Told with simplistic prose and stark attention to detail, Atwood describes life in the not too distant future where the United States has been transformed through military coup into a totalitarian theocracy. This dystopian horror story is made all the more real by the bridge Atwood has created between the world we know now and the world that could be – the story’s protagonist remembers the time before the change. This is, to my knowledge, a unique element in the dystopian genre, whereas in many others the setting is some time in the far future and there seems little hope for change or revolution.

More than that, the heroine, Offred (not her real name but the proprietary title she is given) is an approachable, likable character that brings the reader dangerously close to the action. Drawing an obvious correlation between far right conservative Christian movements and Muslim Sharia law authoritarian theocratic ideologies, Atwood has created a disturbing vision.

As the reader experiences the story from the perspective of a mother, this story has the added complexity of nurturing relationships turned horribly askew. This is not as terrible as Elie Wiesel’s Night, still in my mind the scariest nightmare I’ve ever even thought about reading, but Atwood’s talent has summoned a specter almost as dark.

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Reading Progress

March 5, 2012 – Shelved
August 6, 2012 – Started Reading
August 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)

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Linda Rowland You make it sound interesting and I might give it another try if I thought I had gotten any smarter since the last time I read it. Now I am afraid to read Night, and it now sits on a shelf in my house.


Debbie "DJ" You've got me wanting to write my disappearing review again! Loved yours, what a book!


Linda Rowland I see my reference to Night. I have since read it and was wrong to fear it.


Cecily "feminist prose"?


Aj the Ravenous Reader This sounds like an intensely dark read. Very well thought of.^^


Carol Tensen Apt illustration


message 7: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna I need to re-read this one.


message 8: by Jaidee (new)

Jaidee Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove this book. Have read it four times.


Ivana Books Are Magic in my opinion the best dystopian fiction is always at least a bit scary... great review, I'm a big fan of this book and of atwood in general.


message 10: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Thanks Ivana, I want to read more from her. I agree that there is a necessary cautionary element to any good dystopian


Ivana Books Are Magic I would recommend Cat Eye as the next one...that one managed to capture both what growing up and growing old feels like with a lot of precision and is in that sense quite unique. I pretty much like everything from her that I have read, yet Cat Eye is my favourite work of her so far.


message 12: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn OK, on my list, thanks for the recommendation


Cecily I love Cat's Eye, but it's not dystopian.


Ivana Books Are Magic I didn't mean to say it is dystopian, I was just recommending a novel by her that I particularly enjoyed.


Cecily Sorry, yes, I didn't mean you were necessarily suggesting that, but someone reading the thread might have assumed it was.


Ivana Books Are Magic well, not they won't:) but I guess Cat's Eye has something in similar with dystopian literature and that is that scary element...I was pretty scared and freaked out when I read some passages about bullying that took place in Cat's Eye. Kids can be very cruel....and somehow we as adults sometimes leave them on their own, in their old little world that can sometimes be quite dystopian because it is a reflection of what they sense is wrong in our society and mimic it....sorry, that was along digression:)!


message 17: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn I really want to read it now. It's on hold at my library, thanks again for the recommendation


Ivana Books Are Magic :)


Chris Gager This one's on my list and I'll give it a go someday but I didn't much care for The Blind Assassin.


message 20: by N (new) - rated it 5 stars

N This is one of my favorites! Great review, Lyn.


message 21: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Thanks!


message 22: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn thanks david, you'll like it


message 23: by Shervin (new) - added it

Shervin Jamali Definitely Atwood's best!


message 24: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn I need to read more from her


message 25: by Shervin (new) - added it

Shervin Jamali Lyn wrote: "I need to read more from her"

You might want to try The Blind Assassin next. Also, Oryx and Crake, which is more recent.


message 26: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Have you read Cat's Eye?


message 27: by Shervin (new) - added it

Shervin Jamali It's on my list, mate! So many books, not enough time. Since self publishing my two books, I've been focusing on some gifted Indie authors I've met and discovered. I recently collaborated with twelve of them on an anthology titled, The Thirteen Lives of Frank Peppercorn, being released Friday with proceeds going to Alzheimer's charities. I'll get back to reading the classics sooner or later! haha


message 28: by Nuno (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nuno Ribeiro Oryx and Crake is great (still in the dystopian genre). Unlike the sober tone of this one it has sort of a ironic subtlety about it. A dark humor, maybe.


message 29: by Rose (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rose Sadly, if Trump gets ousted and Pence starts running things, this could be your future history book.


message 30: by Lynn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lynn Excellent review which summed it up for me completely #cantstopthinkingaboutthisbook


message 31: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Thanks Lynn


Anthony Hi Lyn, you mention "This dystopian horror story is made all the more real by the bridge Atwood has created between the world we know now and the world that could be – the story’s protagonist remembers the time before the change. "

It's interesting you should say this. I thought the exact opposite. At some point in the distant future, I could believe anything is possible, but not this much change in 10-15 years. Sort of ruined the whole dystopian concept for me :-(


message 33: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Hmmmmmmm


Marta Atwood is the best.


message 35: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn agreed


Daniel And the sequel is forthcoming in September! The Testaments. There are books I read when I get around to them and there are books that make me put down whatever I'm reading to start them right away. The Testaments will fall into the latter category.


message 37: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn wha??? had not heard that, looking forward to it


Daniel Likewise though I'm always a little cautious when an author releases a sequel decades after the original but I think that she'll pull it off. And if you're a patient Atwood fan, you have Scribbler Moon to look forward to.


message 39: by Britton (new) - added it

Britton Summers Funny, I just rewrote my review for this book. I hate to say that I found this effort to be quite bland in comparison to some of her other works such as the MaddAdam series. It’s not for me, to say the least.


message 40: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn I need to read that series


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