The Handmaid’s Tale lived up to my expectations and that is why I liked it so much. I didn’t expect the stream of consciousness type of first-person narrative delivery but it really worked for me. The edition of the book I had made it quite clear when Offred changed what narrative time she was telling us. I also listened to the audiobook of this delivered by Claire Danes and she did fantastically. I listened to the audiobook at 2x and because of Danes’ delivery, it still sounded absolutely fine.
I had a slight belief issue believing that the U.S. would fall apart this quickly into such a fundamentalist type of society. You can tell that Atwood doesn’t really have much first-hand experience of religion in the U.S. because most religious people would find the changes being made in this world egregious. There is no way so many people would fall for such cult-like behavior but I guess that is the fear the book brings out. Even if so many of us would never believe something like this could happen, it did in this book. I can see why this book became one of the highest selling books in 2017 because yes, there are some parallels to the current political climate.
Anyway, I thought this was an excellently written novel. My favorite part of the whole thing was when Offred was remembering a time with her mother and her husband. Basically, her mother was talking to her daughter about a time when women didn’t have as many freedoms as they do now and that she should cherish the freedoms she does have because it can all be taken away so easily. That is exactly what has happened to the women of the current age. This entire book is all about showing us that our freedoms are not givens and that they can be taken away rather quickly and easily.
I did not like the “historical note” section at the end of the book. I don’t think it served any real purpose to improve the book.
18/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
3 – Characters
4 – World Building
5 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect