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Ratings and Reviews (17 126 star ratings
17 reviews

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4.5 out of 5
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    kind of a scary name for a title

    I wasn't able to put it down. A crazy ending, too. Even the location where offered was surprising. Wonder why margaret Atwood hasn't written a sequel to it.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Amazing read!

    This book... there are no words for how much Atwood's words affected me. The book was originally published when I was about 16, but I didn't read it. In some ways, I regret that because I think it would have been interesting to compare the two experiences, 30 years apart. Kim at 16 would have taken it in very different ways than Kim at 46. But, on the other hand, I don't think at that age I would have been able to fully appreciate the themes and implications of this novel. The novel takes place in a dystopian near future (roughly 2004-2005). after society has fallen to a religious new order. The USA is no longer, now known as the Republic of Gilead. Society is based on a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, a rather chilling androcentric, misogynistic social order. Birth rates have sharply reason, providing the justification for the new system. Women have had virtually all of their rights taken away, reduced to categories like Jezebels (pleasure women), Marthas (cooks/housekeepers) and Handmaids (fertile breeding women). Aunts are in charge of retraining the lesser women, indoctrinating them in the new world order. Only the Commanders' Wives have even a touch of freedom, but that, too, is limited. The Handmaids even lose their names, becoming "Of-" and whatever the Commander's first name is. It is a disturbing look at sexual politics, particularly the ways in which sexuality is or isn't expressed based on gender. It is a book about power and how what is seemingly utopian for some, it is clearly dystopian for others. This is a book that is extremely thought-provoking, especially in this day and age. Despite the fact that it was published 31 years ago, there are so many themes in it that are just as relevant in today's world. There were times when I forgot I was reading a book that supposedly took place more than a decade ago. The Handmaid's Tale is a part of me now, one of those books that I will read again and again. It is the kind of book that will give you a new experience each time it is read.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A very interesting story by a classic Canadian author. Even though Ms. Atwood wrote this book some time ago, it is a relevant and thought provoking story. It is well written and full of details that offer the reader a glimpse into the life of a handmaid after a major depopulation. This science fiction tale is told from the perspective of a woman being oppressed by gender inequality and the triumphs and tribulations associated with her station in a futuristic society. This story is thought provoking and leaves one to ponder what the world would be like in the aftermath of a major depopulation.
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    Fell a little short of expectations

    The Handmaid's Tale is the second Margaret Atwood book I have read. I really enjoyed Oryx and Crake , and was looking forward to this. I watched the movie with Natasha Richardson years ago, and liked it quite a bit. This book was similar to Oryx and Crake in that the how society crumbled is not so much the story as are the people who are trying to cope with their present situation. Where Atwood effectively garnered sympathy for Snowman in Oryx and Crake with beautiful, descriptive language, the same was not true for Offred in Handmaid's Tale. Even though her situation was deplorable, the telling of her story did not generate feelings of sympathy. The story was told in a rather flat manner. It lacked, for me, the elegant diction that I expected. Where Atwood was effective was in bringing attention to the issues that women face. As a man, I think it's easy to think that women don't face significant injustice and bias, but this story was eye-opening to the problems women face that society takes for granted. As an African American, though, it was easy to see correlations between the message in the book as it pertains to women to my first hand experience as a part of the black community. Overall, I was intrigued enough to learn what would be Offred's fate, but mostly I found Atwood's message came across very strong and detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
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    Suspenseful, masterful, exquisite.

    Awe-inspiring. Like 1984, A Handmaid’s Tale is excruciatingly relevant in today’s world. A must-read for anyone with concern for the future, and what will become of modern society.

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