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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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The Handmaid's Tale (original 1985; edition 1998)

by Margaret Atwood (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
35,082101448 (4.11)2064
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.
Member:jennamozingo
Title:The Handmaid's Tale
Authors:Margaret Atwood (Author)
Info:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (1998), Edition: 1st Anchor Books, 311 pages
Collections:Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

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    The Giver by Lois Lowry (cflorente)
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    Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: An upside down recommendation, as this is an "all-women" utopia rather than a dystopia, but a fun read.
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    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Handmaid's Tale is the classic forerunner to dystopic fiction of sexist futures. When She Woke picks up the mantel with a more modern version of a misogynistic theocracy taking over government. Both show terrifying futures for the state of women in society.… (more)
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    Kaelkivial: Both stories of strong women who resist (in one form or another) the system that holds them down. Both books fairly fast paced and gripping; acts of violence and loss scattered throughout.
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(see all 65 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 967 (next | show all)
My first book by Margaret Atwood and it would certainly not be the last. The writing style is superb. The story is so imaginatively real that it is sometimes difficult to realize that it is just a story. The retelling of Offred makes you questions your own belief and behavior and makes you wonder how would you behave in Gilead as opposed to your current self belief. This is one of the most important piece of writing I have ever read. ( )
  Islandmum84 | Jul 28, 2021 |
zoiks.
down a star as the shifting narrative drove me a bit batty, but otherwise, what can anyone say in the face of something so unrelentingly bleak? ( )
  dowswell | Jul 25, 2021 |
I bought this book a few months back as it always seems to get pretty good reviews. I purposefully stay away from reading details of a book prior to reading it so I had no idea what the book was about or even what genre (if any) it fitted into.

In the first few chapters I wasn't sure what exactly was going on as the book starts without any back story. I'm not sure how I would best describe Atwood's style of writing, its unlike any I've come across before. The book is very readable but I still had to read the pages slowly enough to take in what was going on. The descriptions of the dystopian world of Gilead are fantastic and I could really visualise it.

I really liked the way that back story was dripped in a bit at a time while the main plot was developing. I can't say that I engaged with any of the characters but to me that made the book even better as t felt like a warning of what could happen in our future. Although I don't subscribe to that way of thinking it is an interesting idea to think about. Towards the end of the book I really had no idea how it would end and I made quite a few wrong guesses. The final chapter is a great literary device and really ties everything together while still leaving plenty of room for thinking.

The only downside for me is that I felt as though there was more out there which was left unsaid. It feels as if Atwood has more of the story somewhere at home and has only given us an insight into this world. I guess a sign of a good book is one that leaves the reader wanting more but I think I needed a little more.

This is a good book and a very thought provoking read. ( )
  Brian. | Jul 24, 2021 |
I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing (https://www.librarything.com/profile/ashleytylerjohn) that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Jul 21, 2021 |
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.

I don't see why everyone is so fascinated with this book. It was boring, the ending sucked, and the writing was hard to follow. I mean I can see the horror of this possible world, but honestly, that just makes me hate it more. And the main character is just so annoying to me. I don't even like who she apparently was before the world went to hell.

The writing style was the worse part for me. It kept going back and forth between the present and some other time. Also, her way of writing out speech was annoying and hard to follow. I only gave the extra star because there were parts that I found somewhat interesting and the main basis of the story isn't bad, but I will not be continuing the series and I don't see me really reading any more by this author. ( )
  starslight86 | Jul 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 967 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, FlorenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danes, ClaireNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, JoannaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moss, ElisabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennati, CamilloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

And she said, Behold my maid Bihah, go in unto her, and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
                              — Genesis 30:1–3
But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal . . .
                              — Jonathan Swift,
A Modest Proposal
In the desert there is no sign that says, Thou shalt not eat stones.
                              — Sufi proverb
Dedication
For Mary Webster and Perry Miller
First words
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
Quotations
As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day.
Time has not stood still. It has washed over me, washed me away, as if I’m nothing more than a woman of sand, left by a careless child too near the water.
The shell of the egg is smooth but also grained; small pebbles of calcium are defined by the sunlight, like craters on the moon. It’s a barren landscape, yet perfect; it’s the sort of desert the saints went into, so their minds would not be distracted by profusions. I think that this is what God must look like: an egg. The life of the moon may not be on the surface, but inside.
But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control ... Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
The Reading Guide Edition is the substantial equivalent the main Handmaid's Tale work, with a few additional pages of questions for groups to consider at the back. Please therefore leave these works combined together. Thank you
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Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

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Book description
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.
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