“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Sometimes, when I read a good book, I find it hard to say what I think about it, because somehow it changed the way I think about some things, or made me realize some issues that I weren’t aware of them enough. And The Handmaid’s Tale is a story that once you read it, you won’t forget about it. It’s one of those stories that are really hard to shake off your mind. So, without further ado, let’s review this book!
The story is set in the post apocalyptic future where the U.S. government is taken over by the Republic of Gilead, which aims to control the society, change people, and bring the old values back. When they declare their takeover, people feel so frightened, and so many of them try to run away. Unfortunately, they have so much power, and they begin to hold people against their will. And most importantly, they look for women who are fertile, because they believe these women can help grow the society of Gilead. After that, they are taken to the women’s center, where they can learn the rules, follow them, and stick to the schedule of work. However, Offred, one of the handmaid’s tells the story of her life before everything changed. And through her perspective, we learn how terrible things go in Gilead.
I honestly can’t believe why I’ve been avoiding this book! Every time I want to read it, I pick a different book. I’m just glad I gave it a chance, because it’s definitely an unforgettable read! The idea that the society can change overnight is so scary. And having no say over your life at all is legit so frightening. This book is so dark, and bleak, but so gripping. It’s so freaking hard to put it down, even though there’s no plot twist, and things go slowly inside the house of the commander, somehow the story is still interesting. I loved the writing style of Margaret Atwood, and I found it so incredibly engaging.
Despite the fact that we don’t even know the real name of Offred, the narrator of the story, it’s so easy to get attached to her and feel what she’s going through in that horrid house. You can sense her fear and pain of not knowing what happened to her family, and how awful it is to be trapped in Gilead with no way out. Throughout the story, she remembers some flashbacks from her past with her husband and daughter, and I think that’s something she does a lot, to somehow preserve her identity, and remind herself that she’s not Offred, she is someone else. Also, in Gilead, the handmaids are not allowed to read, write, talk, own anything, or even see like normal people do. They wear big hats and always look down while they walk around the house. They are treated like a disposable object. If they don’t get pregnant after sleeping with the commander for the third time, they will be punished. Things can always go worse in Gilead. There are also side characters that we learn about their lives before, and after Gilead takeover. The only thing I wanted more of this book is to know how people outside the house of the commander are coping with the drastic and scary changes in this new society. I was super curious to know how they’re feeling and living their new life. The end of the book was not expected, I mean we don’t get a final closure, but you can guess how things went with Offerd.
It honestly blows my mind that this book was written years ago, because it feels like it was written a year ago or something. The way women are raped, and tortured, in Gilead is so awful. And they don’t have the choice to refuse that. They stripped their identity away, and It’s heartbreaking how Gilead is exploiting them. In there, women are the blame for everything, but men for some reason are innocents. It’s just insane how sometimes we see this in our society, and how women are blamed for things they have nothing to do with. To wrap up my review, The Handmaid’s Tale is an intriguing yet disturbing read that will definitely leave you with lots to think about, and so many questions. It’s a masterpiece and I would recommend it to anyone who is into dystopian fiction.