Dystopian Futuristic | Feminist | Tragedy | Fiction | Speculative | Oppression | Science Fiction | Disturbing | Powerful |
What did I just read? I am still in a bit of a daze trying to understand what I just finished reading. It is one of those books which is hard, extremely hard, to review because it’s a masterpiece. Words fall short to describe the greatest novels of all time, The Handmaid’s Tale, being one of them. I started off by feeling super impressed with Margaret Atwood’s style of writing, which is beautifully and brutally rich in description. I made notes, highlighted sentences, and took pictures on my phone while I was still at the first few pages of the book so as to take inspiration from her writing. But I couldn’t continue doing that because I couldn’t allow any interruptions. The more I read the book, the more it asked for my attention, it is captivating and terrifying all at once.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian futuristic fictional novel that highlights gender inequality, sexuality, oppression, inhuman torture, and dehumanization of women where they weren’t allowed even an iota of happiness or freedom. It explores social, political, and religious themes. The story is narrated from a first person’s point of view, where the name of the character is never revealed as all the handmaids have lost the privilege of having an identity and are addressed by their labeled names. Offred is the slave name of the protagonist, the other important characters in her life include Ofglen with whom she goes grocery shopping, Moira her best friend from before the oppression, Luke her husband, and Nick an unexpected confidante.
This story is one of a kind, unlike anything I have read before. I am familiar with stories of gender inequality but what kind of an inhumane torture was this! Women in red with white blinders to prevent them from experiencing any kind of joy. Women as vessels for childbirth, like property passed on to commanders and their wives. They are stripped of their rights and forced into subservient roles. The only purpose of the handmaids’ existence was to give birth after systematically being abused by the ruling elite on the night of the Ceremony.
I HIGHLY recommend this epic book, it’s a 20/10 for me. The Handmaid’s Tale is a tough read, it can be challenging but it’s an absolutely riveting read!