The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Book - 2017 | First Anchor Books movie tie-in edition
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This look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2017]
Edition: First Anchor Books movie tie-in edition
Copyright Date: ©1986
ISBN: 9780525435006
052543500X
Characteristics: xix, 311 pages ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”


From the critics


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d
dirtbag
May 20, 2020

I am probably not the best person to review this book. I have not liked anything that Atwood has written since the Edible Woman. Back then she had a sense of humor.

b
briannabooks123
Mar 27, 2020

This book is unique and is certainly one that even though I didn't enjoy it, it has left a mark on me. It is about a female living in a religious, totalitarian society where women are oppressed, that is the simplest summary I can give without giving too much away. I found that the book was quite dry and boring at times and there was very few exciting portions. I also really didn't like the protagonist, I'm sure Atwood tried to write her in a way to evoke sympathy from the reader, but I just couldn't sympathize. A friend of mine warned me that the ending of the book is very odd, but what I found personally is that the ending returned the book to my graces.

I also think one of the things that disappointed me about this book is that it is often compared to George Orwell's 1984, which caused me to expect too much from it. I also really disliked Atwood's style of writing, I found it hard to get through.

I would give this book a 2/5 rating.

s
SusanJFerguson
Mar 24, 2020

Book Club

m
MEILEEANDERSON
Mar 11, 2020

I read this book for category 24 "a book with a large cast of characters" for the 2020 Extreme Reading Challenge. I accidentally read Margaret Atwood's books out of order. I read The Testaments first, I'm glad I went back and read The Handmaid's Tale because it helped explain some things but still overall I didn't love it. My mind couldn't want to (didn't want to) wrap itself around such a dystopian future in which women had no rights. I really wrestled with this story. After thinking it over I felt convicted about how I take my rights foregranted in comparison to some of the situations women deal with in other countries.

a
apalmer994
Feb 21, 2020

The show was so good, the book was not. I only gave it the stars I did because the premise was good enough to churn out a good show. This book was a drag to get through. Nothing really added to the plot and when something finally exciting happens Boom! It’s the end of the book.

s
SR806
Feb 18, 2020

Okay - I love to read, but I am about 125 pages in on this book and still don't like it. I'm returning it to the library. I gave it one star because I find it boring.

k
knradach
Feb 07, 2020

I was hesitant to read this book since I have watched 2 of the 3 seasons on Hulu. This book read exactly as I remembered the first season, and overall was a quick/easy read. Given the horrible situation she finds herself in, I enjoyed the inner voice of the narrator - often sassy and witty. Honest and devastating. I enjoyed it a lot!

j
JackandPearl
Feb 04, 2020

Brilliant writing, engrossing characters, especially the main character Offred. A must read for anyone who loves literature. And for all those who enjoy dystopian novels, this one shows the way, I'm sorry I didn't read it 35 years ago when it first came out.

i
ilokaye53
Jan 17, 2020

I am embarrassed to say I actually wasted my time reading it.

s
swathikilingaru
Dec 19, 2019

The dystopian story was quite fascinating. I never expected such ending. Interesting book to read.

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Quotes

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r
reeread
Oct 01, 2018

“My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter.”

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

As long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out,
that we will be touched again, in love or desire. We have ceremonies of our own, private ones.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

There can be alliances even in such places, even under such circumstances. This is something you can depend upon: there will always be alliances of one kind of another.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

It is the hardest for you. We know the sacrifices you are being expected to make. It is hard when men revile you. For the ones who come after you, it will be easier. They will accept their duties with willing hearts. She did not say: Because they will have no memories, of any other way. She said: Because they won't want things they can't have.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

What he's telling us, his level smile implies, is for our own good. Everything will be all right soon.
I promise. There will be peace. You must trust. You must go to sleep, like good children.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

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.

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”

m
MissSherbetXO
Jul 11, 2014

I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.

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Age

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s
steven_hahn
Jun 01, 2018

steven_hahn thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

b
blue_cat_16312
May 18, 2018

blue_cat_16312 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

j
jmli
Jan 28, 2018

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

j
jjwoodard
Jun 01, 2017

jjwoodard thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

e
eparti
Mar 29, 2015

eparti thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

EuSei Jan 25, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

s
Saralovebaig
Nov 28, 2012

Saralovebaig thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

h
hardkorelish
Apr 16, 2011

hardkorelish thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Notices

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c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Hangings and group lynching

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Sexual Content: Explicit sexual scenes

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Violence: group mob attack section

Summary

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c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Offred lives in a society where women are valued purely for their ability to reproduce because of rampant bareness caused by radioactive materials. Offred is one of the handmaids who are forced to procreate under the direct supervision of their commanding 'wives'. Offred had a family and a child of her own which were taken from her when she was forced to become property. All aspects of her life are controlled on pain of death. Things start to spiral downward when her Commander (baby daddy) starts speaking to her outside of the prearranged time he promises her glimpses of her old life. She is also forced into a sexual encounter with one of the servant men after her commanding wife feels the commander is incapable of getting her pregnant. She continues on this relationship even though she is afraid of being found out. The book ends rather abruptly when Offred is taken away in a van which is known to dispose of rebellious handmaids. It is implied that her lover helps her escape although it is ambiguous.

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