The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Book Review

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a powerful book about the oppression of women by men in a future fundamentalist Christian America. The theme is one that stays with you. I’m sure this is a book I won’t forget too quickly.
Women have lost all rights and independence in this society. Certain women including the protagonist are passed around amongst the male elite and are treated as mere objects designed for producing babies. Women themselves, especially older women, are instrumental in enforcing this situation.
I gave this book four stars not five stars for a couple of reasons. First I didn’t think it was quite as well-written as Atwood’s later book, Oryx and Crake, which I read a few years ago. And also because I found certain parts a little bit hard to believe, vague and lacking in detail. For example, the apparent ease with which the president and Congress were swept away; and the rather vague explanations for why there was a fertility crisis. In this respect I’m not sure the book is exactly good science fiction, although it certainly is science fiction despite what Margaret Atwood has occasionally claimed. But I enjoyed it and most of all am pleased I read it. I will surely remember it.

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