I am a sucker for dystopian fiction, so I knew I would enjoy this book when I did get to read it. Why I hadn’t read it until now, was because of the subject of the book. The fact that I listened to the audiobook version narrated by the lovely Elisabeth Moss, slightly softened the hard hitting nightmarish premise of the book for me.
Now that Testaments is out, and has shared the Booker Prize last year, and Hulu has made the book a well known story with its screen adaptation, I don’t think I need to talk about the premise of the book. But if you’re still in the dark about the dystopian world of Gilead, and you’re a woman, it is probably your worst nightmare come true. Imagine a world without choice to who you can love, and how you can love. Who you can touch and how you can touch. Where subjugation is on such an extreme level that no one knows what is the truth anymore. Where propaganda by the extremists are taken to such extent that the victims believe that they deserve all of this and that it is actually what is right and good for them. Worst of all, imagine, having everything taken away from you, after you’ve tasted freedom.
There are two kinds of freedom. Freedom to and freedom from – says aunt Lydia
But it is hard to see the benefits for the argument of freedom from, when you have experienced the freedom to.
Via multiple perspectives, Margaret Atwood makes their readers think, question themselves. Who should I feel sorry for? The Handmaids who are legally raped but are given all other benefits because they can bear children? The Commander’s wives, who have no right to their own husbands anymore, and have to watch them have sex with the Handmaids? The Commanders or the men, who are not allowed to even look at women and can be killed if they even think of concepts such as love or attraction?
You can’t die from lack of sex. But you can die from lack of love, muses Offred
The author makes you wonder, what would I do in a situation like this? Will I succumb to it or will I fight it? Will I be a Moira, an Offred or a Jeanine? Or an off glen? I don’t know. The instinct to survive under any condition is so high in humans, that it is possible to suffer under injustice and pretend that everything happened for the best, than to fight back and die.
Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance. You have to work at it – Offred
The worst part of the book wasn’t any of this though. It was the realization, that we could be on the brink of a world like that already. Or that, there are places even today, where such practices are normal and acceptable. We might already have a Gilead. What gave me shudders and nightmares days after finishing this book, was the fact that everything I love and cherish, can be taken away from me within moments, and there may be nothing I can do about it.
I actually loved the writing style and the atmosphere Margaret Atwood creates in this book. The world building is very realistic and believable. I was completely invested in Offred’s narration of her story. That ending research subject note brought a hint of positivity to Offred’s outcome. I will be reading the Testaments next, but wanted to write down my thoughts for Handmaid’s Tale, on a friend’s suggestion:)
All in all, highly recommend this for everyone to read. You can read it as a horror story, cautionary tale, or completely chose to disregard it. Still, its worth a read 🙂 A five star 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating book for me this month!☺️