Fabian's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1036893
's review

really liked it

A true dystopian classic. This is incredibly well written, & I think that that is why it's fan base is so enormous & faithful. It made Entertainment Weekly's "Top 25 Best Books of the Last 25 Years" several years ago.

The account reminds me of, and is probably written trying to somehow emulate, "The Diary of Anne Frank." This new vision of the future is one devoid the female mystique, with only one sex becoming triumphant &) dominating the other. This is misogyny to the nth degree. It is a holocaust that mirrors the treatment of women in the Middle East. It is multifaceted & wondrous. But also terrible.

I must say that reading the last stretch of novel, I drifted & when the conclusion arrived, it hit me. It's impact waking me full tilt. What?!?!? It ends in a very Coen Brothers fashion! That it is tight, then unravels in plot is efficient... then chaotic. It belongs in the same shelf as "We," obviously, and I did not find anything funny about it, only pathos and ironic melancholy. Again, kinda like 'em Coens.
329 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Handmaid's Tale.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 16, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
February 25, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Neal (new)

Neal Adolph The first review I've ever read of this which has made me want to read it. it's a surprising talent, making me want to read Atwood. She and I have such a troubling relationship.


Fabian Neal wrote: "The first review I've ever read of this which has made me want to read it. it's a surprising talent, making me want to read Atwood. She and I have such a troubling relationship."
Really? None of her books have disappointed me (yet), and most of them I give 5 stars to! Have you read the Maddaddam Trilogy? Such a strange, amazing series.


message 3: by Neal (new)

Neal Adolph I've read the first two. I enjoyed the first one and the second for the most part - I don't think that I've ever read a book so quickly - but ultimately I find Atwood a little too "on the bone" in her ideas and presentation. I'll finish it eventually, I'm sure, but it often frustrates me how very little mystery there is in her books given she also writes poetry. I keep reminding myself of Alias Grace, which was my first book by her and one helluva good one at that. But I've changed a lot as a reader since enjoying that one, and I'm just not sure how it would stand in my estimation anymore...


Fabian Neal wrote: "I've read the first two. I enjoyed the first one and the second for the most part - I don't think that I've ever read a book so quickly - but ultimately I find Atwood a little too "on the bone" in ..."
Wow, that's very surprising to hear. I also loved The Blind Assassin as well--its as superb as Alias Grace. I will admit that its a goal of mine to read all of her novels. As a huge fan of that art (more so, Im afraid, than poetry), I think she may just be my favorite Canadian writer of all time.


Dorothy I loved this book. And I agree with your Coen brothers analogy. Spot on!


Fabian Dorothy wrote: "I loved this book. And I agree with your Coen brothers analogy. Spot on!"
Thanks! f


message 7: by Roberta (new)

Roberta Neal wrote: "I've read the first two. I enjoyed the first one and the second for the most part - I don't think that I've ever read a book so quickly - but ultimately I find Atwood a little too "on the bone" in ..."
have you read atwood's 'surfacing'? https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
it's one of her best, imo. i like her s/f novels better than most of her others; 'surfacing' is an exception.
i once spoke with a local [ sask.] school librarian when atwood's name came up - a recent award or honour - and the librarian said, 'margaret atwood - you know, that boring canadian lady'.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Nice review, Fabian, of a book that garners such a wide spectrum of opinions.


LeAnne: GeezerMom Fabian, Ive procrastinated on reading this for - what? - maybe 20 years? Im in. Super insights!


Fabian Roberta wrote: "Neal wrote: "I've read the first two. I enjoyed the first one and the second for the most part - I don't think that I've ever read a book so quickly - but ultimately I find Atwood a little too "on ..."

WOW! Everyones a critic! (Obviously.) And yes, I HAVE read Surfacing, check out my review of it. I thought it was magnificent, which is not out of the ordinary for the BCD ("Boring Canadian Lady").


Fabian Anne wrote: "Nice review, Fabian, of a book that garners such a wide spectrum of opinions."
Thank you, Anne! f


Fabian LeAnne wrote: "Fabian, Ive procrastinated on reading this for - what? - maybe 20 years? Im in. Super insights!"

LeAnne: Read, read read! A MUST


message 13: by Ana-Maria (new) - added it

Ana-Maria Petre I have it in my library, unread. Your excitement over this is contagious, and definitely convincing (especially as I loved Zamiatin's We). Thanks for the insight!


Fabian Ana-Maria wrote: "I have it in my library, unread. Your excitement over this is contagious, and definitely convincing (especially as I loved Zamiatin's We). Thanks for the insight!"

Yes Ana-Maria! Handmaids Tale is definitely a must for any member of the literati!


Ayala Levinger what do you mean by "mirrors thd treatment of women in the middle east"?


Fabian Ayala wrote: "what do you mean by "mirrors thd treatment of women in the middle east"?"
As second class citizens. Second to men.


message 17: by BAM (new) - rated it 4 stars

BAM The Bibliomaniac In complete agreement


Nooilforpacifists I don't much care for dystopias, and a man-hating dystopia was too much for me. The quality of writing kept it from being a "one star", but the hit-me-over-the-head plot required a significant downgrade. Felt like I had to cue up the end of "Planet of the Apes" (movie) and cleanse my palette by Heston shouting "You damned dirty apes!"


message 19: by Tate (new) - added it

Tate Houser I agree with this review because I had the same reaction to the end of the story and the main norms in the society. My favorite part is the ending when it gives you hints of everyones relations and then makes it so you want to read more.


back to top