Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my radar for several months now. Originally published in 1985, it came back into popularity after movie streaming service Hulu decided to pick it up for a television series. In a similar fashion to George Orwell’s 1984, many readers have taken interest in this dystopian tale as it draws many similarities to current events. While I do not believe that a reality as drastic as the one in Handmaid’s Tale could ever become true, there are still many parallels to draw from. I am a major fan of dystopian stories. Regardless of how depressing they may be, they serve as an honest warning for the future. Atwood’s novel is no exception, taking place in a world so horribly polluted that the majority of babies born are deformed. A new government steps in to solve the problem, leading to dangerously low fertility rates. Women’s rights are slowly taken away to the point where it seems as if the novel takes place in the middle ages. Main character Offred lives in the Republic of Gilead, a state in which the majority of women work as handmaids for the wealthy. After trying to escape with her family, Offred is separated from her daughter and husband with no choice but to be forced to conceive children under the government. With her future unknown, she must learn what survival means to her.
Atwood's novel has been adapted for opera, ballet, and film throughout the years. The story of The Handmaid’s Tale has captivated readers for generations as it makes them realize how much they take for granted. While the book was certainly a page turner, I dreaded learning of what horrible things would happen to Offred in the next chapter. The story is incredibly disturbing, yet beautiful. It sheds light on how women have been mistreated throughout the years, yet are still able to fight. The Handmaid’s Tale is gruesome and may be too much for some, but I believe it was essential for a young women like me to read. I would highly recommend this book as well as watching the Hulu series. For aspiring novelists and film directors, there is much to be learned from Atwood’s storytelling.
Staff of Wellington Square Book Shop