I finally dug into my reading list and spent the last two weeks reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I stumbled upon this book after seeing it on a Buzzfeed list (I know, I know, it’s a guilty pleasure). I believe the list was about dystopian novels. With the recent release of Mockingjay I have been on a serious dystopian-genre kick.
I have to say…I LOVED this book! It sucked me in immediately and I read the entire thing in under two weeks. The book takes place in America in the not-so distant future. Religious extremists have taken over the country and women are no longer allowed to read, write, or make any major decisions. Women who were married and successfully birthed children before the takeover were given the task of becoming handmaids (aka birth mothers). Their only task in life is to be assigned to a household, become pregnant, give the baby to the family, rinse and repeat. This happens until the woman is deemed no long fertile and then she is sent “away.” They never say where this “away” place is but it sounds pretty horrific. On top of that, crimes are punished by public execution, religious persecution is running rampant, there is blatant corruption in their government, undesirable people are sent to live in slum “colonies”, and overall there is just a super scary tone to the country that these people are inhabiting.
There isn’t a necessary climax, just lots of constant intrigue, drama, and information. Some people may shy away from this book simply because of the lack of climax. The other thing I foresee some people disliking is the lack of dialogue between characters. Personally, I like Atwood’s writing style because she uses a ton of inner dialouge. Offred, the main character, speaks very little because, as a handmaid, her position is considered fairly shameful. The inner dialogue provides for some huge character development though and it makes the reader really identify with Offred and her struggles.
I’d read this book again in an instant and recommend it to any adult who enjoys the dystopian genre. It’s definitely not a YA book like so many of the books in this genre. It’s more in the same vein as 1984, adult content and focused on major issues. It’s a super quick read and I think a lot of adults would devour it pretty quickly. I actually enjoyed it so much that I am now reading another adult dystopian novel called Oryx and Crake, which was also written by Margaret Atwood!
Your turn…Do you enjoy the dystopian genre? Why or why not?
I’m currently listening to…M83- Midnight City