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The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood | Review

*image via GoodReads

Offred is a young woman living in the Republic of Gilead. She's a Handmaid and serves only one function in this society: to breed. She's essentially a surrogate mother and one of hundreds, if not thousands in the Republic, who are selected and prepped to help repopulate the State. The price to pay if she chooses to rebel? Death. Either by hanging or sent out to the Colonies to die of radiation poisoning. She's not the only one suffering though and there are many rebelling all around her in the smallest ways possible. Not even the government can suppress human desire.  

So what’s my verdict?

As much as I loved the premise of this book I found this really hard to get into. Admittedly the writing is stunning, the plot itself (once it gets going) is really good, but I found the pacing quite slow at times and the plot does jump around a lot.

I did however love the world Atwood's built in this book. As rigidly structured the Republic is, it's so rich and deeply layered, not to mention terrifyingly realistic. It's Dystopian in it's rawest sense. There's no crazy mutations or weird biological warfare going on. Just a corrupt government with disturbing values and a society that oppresses the voices of women. I have a feeling the description is so heightened because of Offred's imprisonment, her situation allows her to notice this smallest details and most subtle nuances in other's body language. A fair warning! This book does get a little sexually explicit in some scenes.

I'm probably judging this book a little harshly and it most likely warrants a re-read!

Reading Soundtrack:

I'm In Here: Sia; When You Were Young: The Killers; Winter Song: Sarah Barielles & Ingrid Michaelson; Say Something: A Great Big World; Sad Beautiful Tragic: Taylor Swift; Lost: Coldplay; Animal Love II: Charlene Kaye

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here


  1. Anonymous6:59 pm

    I've always wanted to read this but I've never got around to it. I hear amazing things and then less than impressed reviews like yours. One day I'll give it a go and see how I get on. I am especially interested to read, as you put it, dystopian in its rawest sense. It'll be refreshing to read something in the genre that stays true,

  2. i studied this at college, and its fascinating to understand the meanings! i would love to re read xx

  3. I'm a big Margaret Atwood fan, and would recommend you try the 'Year of the Flood' series. Personally, I didn't love the subject matter of The Handmaid's Tale, but it definitely makes you think and the quality of writing is superb.
    Claire xx


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