The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale Summary

Before The Testaments, there was The Handmaid’s Tale: an instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

Book Reviews


Rare instance where the show is better3 star

I’m not too sure what I was expecting. The book is written more as an introspective narrative of June after the events of Gilead’s rise. Season 1 does hold true to most of the book for those who are curious. I suppose I’m not as big a fan of internal dialogue as I thought I would be. It slows the pace of the book a lot, I suspect sone purposefully. June life is this slow, monotonous walk through life punctuated by moments of cause celebre: a birth, pregnancy announcement, jezebels, executions. Even the ending felt like a wet rag, June had just given up entirely. No excitement, no fear just continuing the slow shuffle. The world Atwood built is intriguing and I wish she’d write more of it because there is so much you could do. I’d love to have a book from Serena’s perspective. The commanders. Even different handmaid’s. This felt like a start of a book but the show seems to do Atwood’s world better justice.35

j. sharit

Better in writing5 star

I have watched the show that is based off this book and the book gives so much more.55


Good book5 star

This book discusses adult ideas and it is interesting in the way that the ideas are described. I read this in a couple days so it was read pretty quickly. Some parts of the story are graphic.55


Amazing!5 star

Its relatable but the idiot that left a review definitely missed the topic of the book. Stop bringing your stupid political opinions onto a book review NOBODY CARES.55


Scary relatable!5 star

Hits too close too home now with a new President that infringes on American rights. Also not caring about America’s safety at our borders, printing money and moving the US toward bankruptcy so we have to rely on the government for “stimulus” as a way to control us from having rights. Infringing our choices for our bodies with vaccine passports.55


Too Frightening To Not Be Concerned!5 star

Are we not seeing the “writing on the WALL” as they did in Germany before Hitler came to power? Did they stand-by thinking it isn’t Hitler was not very well received when he was first introduced to politics in Germany at the time. They didn’t think it could happen. We mustn’t think such thoughts. Whom would have ever thought citizens could violently enter into the Capital while Homeland Security stood-by and did nothing.55


Dark and disturbing2 star

While this book revealed how objectified woman are and could be through an extreme version of a dystopian society, I questioned why it had to be so violent. The hangings, suicidal themes, and the narrow and disturbing view of women made me not want to keep reading.25


Fantastic writing4 star

4.5 Atwood has such a unique voice.I am constantly amazed by her craft, However, I felt that the ending was a little rushed and could have been delved into a little more, but overall I loved the book.45


So Poignant, So Timely5 star

The only logical reason for this book to be banned anywhere is that the conservatives reading it are down for a world similar to Gilead and they don’t want the rest of us warned. This book is poignant. It should be required reading for every high school student. It opens the chance to talk about respect for all, freedom for all, consent for all. If those things offend your precious sensibilities, you’re children need to read this book even more and so do you. This book is timely, seeing that we are - right this minute - faced with a president who is threatening to dispose of the democratic process for his own gains. This book has become even more timely in the last week and a half with the very real possibility of a new SCOTUS judge that would gladly take away women’s rights to respect, freedom, and consent, even though that means she is forfeiting those rights for herself!55

bread bowl boi

Hits too close to home5 star

May I just say, I love this book- This was my first introduction into the world of Atwood’s speculative fiction, and I must say what I’ve read so far hits too close to home yet I keep reading since it’s so interesting It honestly seems as though America is heading towards a mixture of this and the oryx and crake- And guys, this is just a good read in the first place, like I wholeheartedly recommend this book and it’s sequel I love the way it goes into philosophy and how constraining people’s freedom to the Bible can lead to some very gut wrenching thoughts And it goes into how these constraints can be unrealistic as everyone is different and forcing people into these small boxes can be really harmful because everyone will break them, especially the ones enforcing them55

Other Books by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments


The Testaments
4.5     2828
Oryx and Crake


Oryx and Crake
4     504
The Year of the Flood


The Year of the Flood
4.5     318

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