The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Thoughts

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!☺️

9 thoughts on “The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Thoughts

  1. Your review is absolutely marvelous Prachi 👍👍👍 I read it in the initial days of blogging, so I never even wrote a proper review for the book. But I completely agree that it’s so terrifying because it feels too close to reality 😳😳😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sahi! I fell short of words you know. There were just so many things I wanted to talk about, every character’s role, every little act that the extremist Govt does, that scene where the girls are trained and they blame the girl Jeanine that it was her fault she was gang raped.. gosh

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ya I can totally see what you mean… there’s a lot that happens that we feel affected by and want to talk about but sometimes words aren’t enough..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. True, what was so nightmarish about this book was that as dystopian as the world is, most of the same injustices are already happening. I found it sad that although this book was written in the 80s, it was still relevant today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly.. and it’s so easy to think we can lose everything we have today in the blink of an eye. Because we mark ourselves as F or Females on all our forms and everything is digital.. shudder. Did you watch the screen adaptation? I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it😕


    1. Thanks Anika🙂 I have another reader friend who didn’t like the writing style as much but the story scared her too. I know a lot of people don’t like dystopian as well. Give it a try maybe and if you don’t feel invested enough until the first 50 pages then don’t read it🙂


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