Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

thehandmaidstale
Hi everyone! Guess what? I’ve finally finished “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. I know I’ve promised you a review a while ago, but I’ve been kind of busy lately and I wasn’t able to finish this interesting book until now.

When the tv series came out I was so intrigued that I decided to read the book. I saved the last episode, so now that I’ve finished the book I can finally see the ending of the first season. I guess that I’ll write my opinions about the show in a separate post, let me just say that I really enjoyed it and I think Elisabeth Moss is amazing.

As for the book, I didn’t know anything about the story but since I’m such a book worm I’d stumbled a couple of times on the most famous quote of the book as I was going through famous quotes and literary tattoos on the web. The quote I’m referring to is obviously: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” which is mock Latin for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. You’d be amazed to know how many people have those words tattooed on their skin.

After reading the book those words have taken a whole new meaning to me. In the book, they are a sort of mantra that the main character, Offred, keeps repeating. She is holding on to those words when she is having a hard time, and things are never particularly easy for her.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in a dystopian society called “The Republic of Gilead” run by a totalitarian religious regime (The Sons of Jacob). The main protagonist, Offred, basically tells the stories of her life as a handmaid mixed with her memories of how things were before this totalitarian regime seized the power. In this ultra-religious society, since a lot of men and women are barren, fertile young women are used for reproductive purposes, they are stripped of their name and they basically become property of their masters, or Commanders as they are called in the book (the names the handmaids are given literally mean they belong to their Commanders: Of-Fred). The handmaids live inside the house with the married couple and their sole purpose is to bear children for them. Once a month there’s a “ceremony” based on Rachel and Bilhah’s story from the Old Testament, where basically the handmaid has to have sex with her commander in front of the wife.

For a lot of things, this novel is similar to another famous dystopian novel: “1984” by George Orwell, another book that I’ve loved so much.

I really enjoyed this book, I liked Offred a lot, I liked how strong she is in spite of everything, I loved the very subtle things she has to come up with in order to survive without letting anyone know what she thinks and how she feels.

I definitely recommend this book, I’ve found it very interesting and clever. The only thing that confused me a little was the use, or better, the lack of quotation marks. I didn’t understand it and I found it a bit frustrating sometimes, but other than that everything else was captivating. If you want to let me know your thoughts about this interesting novel please do, I always look forward to your comments.

My favorite quote is this one of course:

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Margaret Atwood.

 

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