So lately I’ve been a bit burned out on dystopian/apocalyptic type stories. For awhile there I’d read any and every book of this genre I could get my hands on. And although the trend didn’t begin with The Hunger Games, for me it did. There were some very, very good ones. And there were some very, very not good ones. So as the market became oversaturated, I moved on to different types of stories.
But then this one caught my eye. Up until this point, I had not read anything by Margaret Atwood. Her stories have been on my TBR list, sure, but so are thousands of others. Can’t say exactly why I decided to read it, but that’s often the case with the books I choose.
Atwood’s tale follows the story of Offred, one of the handmaids in a new society. Stripped of all rights and privileges, they are at the mercy of the men in charge. Her only role in life is to help populate society by producing offspring. Puritanical in nature, the story is both scary and satirical at times. She finds herself without anything to live for, nothing to work for. But still she goes on, surviving day to day without any say in her life. She does find small moments of rebellion and somehow finds the strength to go on. And at the very end, we’re left wondering if her will to survive is enough.
Did this novel start the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it craze? Not likely. But it did come before modern stories that are much more well-known. And that’s a shame. Because this one is good, better even than many others I’ve read. It’s a cautionary tale of what might someday be in the far off or not so far off future.
A side note: I listened to the audio version of the book which in no way diminishes the power of the story. And the narration by Claire Danes is excellent, told with just the right blend of detachment and resignation.
Buy It Now: The Handmaid’s Tale