Week 10: The Handmaid’s Tale Review

Hey readers! Today, I’m going to review The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It took me a LONG time to read this book, which is very unusual as it is comparatively a very short read. It took me 10 days to read this 300-page book. I have no excuse other than the book and its contents themselves. It is an unpopular opinion but to be very honest, this book didn’t quite meet my expectations and the hype surrounding it. Do read the rest of the review to find out why.

The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian world where the definition of freedom has been changed and peremptorily turned into something that is forced upon people. U.S. no longer exists and the Republic of Gilead stands in its stead. The Women of Gilead have been broken and categorised into classes. (1)The Aunts are authoritative and sanctimonious figures whose job is to ensure that decorum is maintained and to train the Handmaids. (2)Econowives are the wives of middle class men and have to dress in striped and colourful clothes. (3)Marthas are the household maids and dress in green. (4)The Commander’s Wives are obligated to not leave their houses or do any kind of work. They merely act as hard, condescending figures and pierce the Handmaids in their respective houses with disdainful eyes. (5)And lastly, the Handmaids. They only have one job. To breed. If they fail to do that in three attempts, they are sent to the Colonies to die of radiation sickness. They are forced to wear a red gown with white head wings and told to always keep their head low. The protagonist, Offred, herself is a Handmaid and we get to read what her life is like, in the first person.

There are lots of reasons as to why I didn’t like this book. The first and major one is its dull writing style. The book is really, really slow and uninviting. The book is so slow that a single day in it comprised of fifty long pages. The readers don’t even get to know the name of their narrator till they finish about half of the book. The book is very vague and it is very difficult for the reader to understand the rules of Gilead before reading the summary at the back of the book. The narrator, Offred, lives in nostalgia and throughout the book, reality is cut off several times with Offred’s reminiscences. And I really don’t like that. By saying all of this I’m not trying to undermine Margaret Atwood’s proficiency in writing. All I’m saying is that her writing style is very descriptive—something that other authors lack in their works—and I for one, don’t like that in her writing.

The other reasons can be that maybe I’m not mature enough to understand and solve the complex nature of this book. Or maybe I’m not a woman that’s why I’m unable to sympathise with the cruelties that the Handmaids have to face in this book. There were several instances in this book which were really devastating and horrifying for various readers but for me they were merely awkward. This book was undoubtedly inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 and Orwell succeeded in creating a gruesome and sickening world while Margaret Atwood, in my opinion, failed to do so. 1984 was better written and when I got to its ending my mind had already been blown and as I read the last sentence, fear and frigidness had already seized my heart. That is the sort of impact a dystopian novel should have on the reader and I simply didn’t find that in The Handmaid’s Tale and as a result I had to perfunctorily read this book in intervals, one chapter at a time.

For me, this book simply didn’t meet the mark and I won’t recommend anyone to read this; there are much better novels out there.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

3 thoughts on “Week 10: The Handmaid’s Tale Review”

  1. Thank you so much for the invite! How did you even do that? I had no idea that was thing on here.
    I really like your review. It’s very profound, thoughtful and well analyzed. I forgot I was reading something by a 16 year old! Not to say that a 16 year old can’t write intellectually, just that it was so well written it was easy to forget your youth.
    I’ve never read this book, saw one episode of the show and decided it wasn’t for me. Though it did receive a lot of hype. I commend you for pushing through. That’s amazing! Not easily done.
    Great job here! ❤ love your blog.

    1. You can easily send out invites. You can do that from Manage > People > Invitations. I’m so glad that you enjoyed my review and loved my blog. Thank you so much!!

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