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#1 New York Times bestseller • Includes an introduction by Margaret Atwood. An instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from "the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction" (New York Times). Now an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss. Look for The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, available now. In Margaret Atwood's dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead's commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive. At once a scathing satire, an ominous warning, and a tour de force of narrative suspense, The Handmaid's Tale is a modern classic.
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** spoiler alert ** I feel like it's very hard to put my feelings about this book into words because I both really liked it but also not. In anyway I will try. I really liked Margeret Atwood's writing style. It was captivating and made me want to continue reading. I also found the world the story is set in very interesting. The whole dystopian setting in my opinion was one of the best things in the book. I actually liked most characters (generally) and I loved that Moira was into girls (it would have been extremely interesting to see some of the things from her pov in my opinion!). I also liked most of the plot, even though the ending felt very rushed because most of the information and action is packed into the second half of the book. I also especially liked June as a character (maybe except for the ending)! However, what made me dislike the book a little was the absolutely soul-crushing and depressing atmosphere about it. Yes, I know this is a dystopia and that that was kind of the point of the book, but it was just so much. Every man turned out to be at least somewhat of an asshole and every female character Offred had a relationship with was revealed to have been crushed by the system. I very much enjoyed the not knowing in the beginning of the book and I loved the passage where June tells us how she has three versions in her head where Luke was at the moment. I liked that hope that was there. Even though it was clear that probably nothing would change for June and that she would be stuck in the miserable place she was there was still hope that her friends and family had escaped, that they had found a better way to live. That hope was absolutely crushed in the end of the book. Not only does she meet Moira to see how her spirit had been broken and diminished but not only that no, Moira also tells us that June's Mother is one of the camps and would be better off dead. While, we don't know what really happened to Luke or where he is that also was made redundant by Atwood speculating him (from June's perspective, which doesn't have to be reliable but still) to be just as bad as everyone else. It was heartbreaking to read how Luke didn't seem to care about June not being able to work and him handling all her finances and just drained all my sympathy for him. This also accomplished that I could never really care for Nick because every other man was being a jerk. So why him then? The ending leaves it open if Nick was an Eye or from MayDay, however, does it even matter anymore? I feel like just one man being gallantly and good, even just in the confines of Offred's experiences, is much less believable than two. Additionally, even if I would choose to believe that Offred was picked up by Mayday (which seems quite unlikely) it was in no way less soul crushing because she had already given up on everything. The book ends with Offred giving into the powerlessness that was bestowed upon her. And with the last sentences she explained how it didn't really matter whether she was being destroyed or rescued because everything was up to others and not to her, which is just a really depressing message!! I mean I would have expected that kind of sentimentality about the system and the regiment the handmaid's lay under. But also to claim that June would be just as powerless in a better environment? Which brings me to why I didn't like the main character in the end. I just really disliked her impassiveness. I would have liked it much more if she'd done anything with the match she'd kept, or killed herself. However, that is mostly subjective preference as I just absolute hate passive female characters that take no initiative. The last thing I wanted to talk about has less to do with the book and more with our situation today. There were some passages in the book that hit so close to home and I just kept thinking to myself how can this still be an issue to this day when this book was written 30 years earlier? To end my long ramblings I would say that I enjoyed most parts of the book and I do feel that it is still important today. However, the ending fell a bit flat for me and just the absolute crushing of hope made the book a little worse to me.
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