2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 – The Handmaid’s Tale

Hi, Hey, Hello!

The reading of this book has been a long time coming to be honest with you. I have been meaning to read this book for about 4/5 years, if not longer, but definitely since my 2nd year at uni. Then the urge to read it came back with a vengeance last year what with the TV adaptation and as the second season is due out imminently here and so it’s time finally came.

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 - The Handmaid's Tale
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 19 – The Handmaid’s Tale

This book stressed me all the way out. For most of it.

First of all I did not realise that it took place in a time that was not all that far from modern day society. When I thought about this book I thought it was a dystopia set in a not so distant future but still kinda distant. But no Offred is just out there knowing what her life was like before and looking on with sadness as she watches new girls be born into the world knowing what the future holds for them.

The flashbacks dotted throughout were heartbreaking because you could tell the way that they were still raw.  They came from a place that was still no fresh to Offred and that hurt. Especially when she was talking about her daughter. The whole unknown aspect of it for her bled through into the whole narrative really.

I loved the way that the story is told. Obviously it is told by Offred but it is told from a perspective that suggests that she is beyond the incidents of the events of the story. And that means that the perspective and the narrative is hella interesting. It also means that I finished the book with a whole lot more questions. None of which will ever truly be resolved.

The way that it is told also adds a really chilling aspect to everything. At points you can feel Offred’s pain as she has go through the tale of it again. It also adds this quality where you wonder just how many times she has tried to tell this tale, and also why she has chosen to tell it. Maybe it was in a quest to get the word out there to people and as a cautionary tale for what could happen if they, the government I guess, are allowed to go through with whatever the hell happened to women in America.

What I also found fascinating was that this whole women problem only seemed to be happening in America. Like the rest of the world just let them do that crazy shit for some reason as long as it didn’t effect them, which I guess makes sense on some level, but also really makes you wonder how it got to that stage. The whole situation makes you wonder really. How enough women thought that the state of the world was so bad that the society that they created was the only way to fix it. And there were those that were willing to teach other, younger, women how to ‘behave’ now.

The sections where all these women were together in the parts to do with childbirth and all that were so jarring. And that was made the case even further because I mean the book opened with these women learning all this new shit and having their old identities stripped from them. The way they were all falling in line, despite it all being relatively new was so fascinating. And kind of horrifying.

That was my main takeaway from this book.

It was kind of horrifying.

The reversion back to a time where women were subservient but it going to an even greater extreme and them just accepting it for some reason. It was weirdly refreshing to know that there were women who didn’t abide by that and who ‘rebelled’. Even though all they were really doing was live their life semi how they used to. Also the actual act of having sex for these women now if they were fortunate enough to be a Handmaid (is fortunate the correct word?) was so bizarre. I mean on one level it made sense, but on another it was just strange. Really strange.

Everything was horrifying and strange. It felt like it cut weirdly close to home. It was beautifully written and I’m kind of annoyed that it took me so long to read it because it has now just  opened my eyes to how great Margret Atwood is and now I have soooo many more books on my to-read list.

I would for sure recommend this book in the same way that it was recommended to me. It’s really good. Horrifying (how many times am I gonna say that in relation to this book?), but good.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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