Author: Margaret Atwood
First Published: 1985
Page Count: 395
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Story writing and fictional settings don’t get much better then what readers get in this book.
*Great mash-up of genres *Value on every page *Fantastic story
*Needs a sequel
“And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.” In the futuristic world of Gilead, Offred is a handmaid in the lavish household of the powerful Commander and his bitter wife, Serena Joy. Her only job is to attempt to get pregnant once a month by the Commander. This is how women are valued in a society where infertility has changed the priorities of those who rule. Offred must now navigate the dangerous and strict Republic of Gilead even as her memories of life with her husband and daughter before the take over haunt her in her lonely hours.
Well, this book was completely fantastic. I knew it was a classic and I knew many people enjoyed it, but I really underestimated how great it would be. Every single page, paragraph, and word are of value because Atwood has created a completely different world and history. You will eat up every sentence as you try to learn more about this society, Offred’s past, and where the story will take her because this book is unlike anything you will ever read. It’s got such a terrific combination of genres as well. The society and how it has shaped North America is very science fiction based, but the story is thrilling, and has a touch of romance in a very tragic way. I also enjoyed the fact that this is not your average scary, warn-the-readers-about-the-future story. There are no zombies, nuclear fallout environments, or major natural disasters. The creator of this frightening future is man and that makes it feel very real and possible.
The only problem with it was that there is no sequel…which is not necessarily a problem. That means I loved it so much I didn’t wanted it to stop! But in all seriousness, another book featuring the view-point of another handmaid, commander, etc would be perfect. There are a lot of different views that Atwood could reveal to us, and her world has an interesting history and future that she alludes to in the end. I would love to see any of this panned out and it could probably make two or three more books. There was so much more I wanted to know about the setting and the ending is such a tease!
Don’t hesitate to pick up this book if you haven’t read it. It has easily shot up my personal list of favorite books, right up there next to Jane Eyre and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I’m glad I experienced it, but sad knowing that there isn’t anything out there, at least for now, that can match it.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring Natasha Richardson 1990)