What’s it about?
The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of a dystopian future of the United States, in which it has become a totalitarian theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. Offred is the main character of this story and she is a Handmaid whose only purpose in life is to have children for her assigned Commander and his family. In the midst of all this strangeness, Offred still remembers the times before when she had her own family (a husband and a daughter) and the freedom to do as she wished. Now she isn’t allowed to do anything. She has no money of her own. Women are not allowed to read and if she can’t produce a child for The Commander she won’t be a useful member of society anymore.
What we liked:
Despite the obvious weirdness of this story it feels very realistic. It feels like something that could, unfortunately, very easily occur. In the brief instances when Offered describes how they got to be in their current state it makes sense how they got there. It is believable and so heartbreakingly realistic because of it.
What we didn’t like:
They story is actually rather slow. A lot of the book is purely Offred’s thoughts and memories, there isn’t a whole lot of action so to speak. Also, it would be nice to know more about how the country came to be, but that wouldn’t be necessary to the story to make it better or anything, we would just be really interested in that.
Should you read it?
We would say yes. It is one of those books that everyone should probably read. So, if you haven’t already been forced to read it in school you should probably get your hands on it. It surely isn’t an entertaining read, so if you are looking for some pure entertainment look elsewhere. However, this book will get you thinking, which is a task not mastered by all that many books. Also, people are raving about the Hulu adaptation of this book so, if anything, you should read it to be able to compare it to the show.
Leah: 3/5 Stars
Meg: 3/5 Stars