Two more books till the end of the challenge!
Welcome back to book review session of the blog! I really hope you have been keeping up with the #ReadingChallenge? And if you haven’t, there is always next year! These reviews will be published weekly now because I’m super eager to wrap up the challenge, but I do post other books that I’m reading on Instagram, so you should definitely check out @lipglossmaffia for more book recommendations and reviews. I have also started a virtual bookclub on Whatsapp, if you would like to join, just send me an email with your phone number at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s book twenty four, so I chose…
*A Classic Twentieth Century Novel
Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Publisher: Anchor Books
Genre: Fiction, Dystopia
My Ratings: 4 out of 5 stars
BLURB: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.
Everyone seems to like getting scared from time to time. We sometimes like to read, or watch movies and shows about natural disasters, psychopaths, monsters, zombies, and vampires. However, we like our scary stuff to be fictional and temporary. Watching “The Walking Dead”? Awesome. Watching the news about a real murderous dictator on CNN? Not awesome… but just as scary. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is guaranteed to terrify you—both in a fun, entertaining way and in an upsetting, too-close-to-home way.
In this book, characters have no voice in their dystopian government and no control over their lives. Margaret Atwood herself describes it as, “a study of power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime.” And when you put it like that, it seems like the book’s implications are pretty universal. Although our world isn’t as totalitarian and frightening as Atwood’s futuristic vision of the United States, it’s still not as good a place as it could be.
We still live in scary times. There’s censorship aplenty. There are public executions. There are people who are taken away in vans, never to be seen again. The same stuff that makes Gilead so freaky is very much part of the world in which we live now.
Even the main issue that “The Handmaid’s Tale” tackles, the total subjugation of women, is hardly a stretch of the imagination. Today there are places in the world where women don’t have the right to choose what clothes they wear or whom they marry, and they can be stoned to death for committing adultery. There are more places where women are grouped into categories that are almost as degrading as those seen in this novel: a woman may be branded as a “slut”, “easy”, “prude”.. the list could go on, and it’s no different from Gilead’s “wife”, “handmaid”, “martha”, and (I think I fall on this category) “unwoman”.
Yup, this is a scary book on a whole bunch of levels. But hey, at least we’re not in Gilead. We’re allowed to read. And that might be the single biggest reason you should read this book– because you can
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