Anthony Marchese's Reviews > The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Apr 05, 2017

it was amazing
bookshelves: reading-challenge-2017

I queued this book shortly after the election, although I had heard of it years ago and had planned to read it. I decided it had to be one of the books in my PopSugar Reading Challenge for 2017, even though I did not know where it would fit. Having read it, I will be using it for the "unreliable narrator" category.

The first thing that stuck out for me was how much the author explored the origins of the dystopian world. This feels unusual. In most dystonia stories I've read the setting is long after the transition (Brave New World, Hunger Games) and no one alive experienced the old world first hand. Offred was already an adult before the fall of the United States and the rise of Gilead. She clearly remembers the way things used to be. For me, this made the world of Gilead feel more real. We don't skip the transition, the narrator recounts it for us to the best of her ability.

Its easy to sympathize with the narrator, an intelligent and educated woman forced into a position where all intellectual pursuits are denied her. The author grounds everything that occurs in Gilead in historical precedent, creating a terrifyingly real world.

Slight spoiler-
The story ends rather abruptly. But, I actually like the way the author wraps it up in the form of an academic lecture. The ending reinforces the idea that the status quo is always changing. Even Gilead will not last.

I highly recommend this book.

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Quotes Anthony Liked

Margaret Atwood
“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”
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

Margaret Atwood
“Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Reading Progress

March 27, 2013 – Shelved
February 24, 2017 – Started Reading
February 24, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 2, 2017 –
April 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 9, 2017 – Shelved as: reading-challenge-2017

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