A book review: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I received as a gift a long time ago, found a spot on my bookshelf for and then forgot about. That was, until the beginning of this year when I was looking through my books and making a list of the main ones that were on my unread list that I was determined to finally open. This one made that list and I finally got round to reading it in April. I can’t believe such a gem was sitting on my bookshelf all that time, I really didn’t know/appreciate what I was missing out on!

Keep reading to find out my thoughts!

The Handmaid's Tale quote 1

TITLE: The Handmaid’s Tale

AUTHOR: Margaret Atwood



Told from the perspective of Offred, we are plunged into the dystopian world of The Republic of Gilead, where fertile women like Offred are forced to breed for the elite or face death. Despite the oppression that surrounds her, and the barbaric treatment that she is subjected to, Offred’s spirit and desire are two parts of her that cannot be controlled. Will this be enough to help her survive?


My thoughts.

I have to admit that I had a real sense of unease when I was reading this. This stemmed from how scarily possible the events that take place could be. By this, I mean, that I could easily imagine a world like this, it doesn’t seem outside of the realms of possibility and that is a rather unsettling thought!

The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful, absorbing, fear inducing book which will elicit a strong emotional reaction from the reader. As I said above, I felt uneasy reading it, but I also felt Offred’s strength shine though and this was inspiring for me as a woman. She is an extremely relatable character, one which the reader is emotionally invested in from the very beginning and throughout.

The Handmaid's Tale quote 3

It is a thought provoking tale that raises many questions and forces the reader to consider their own moral compass as well as judging the morality of the society within which Offred resides. It’s astonishing to me that this book was published in the mid 80s because it is so relevant to our current society and I feel like it will continue to be relevant for years to come. It just seems so ahead of its time!

I wonder if Margaret Atwood knew how important this story would be when she penned it, I wonder if she foresaw society heading in such a direction as the tale portrays. I wonder also whether she believes that some variation of The Republic of Gilead is our future. I could seek out answers to these wonderings but I quite like the mystery of it all. Uncertainty is rife in The Handmaid’s Tale so my personal uncertainty as to the author’s intentions adds to the story for me rather than taking anything away. Besides, a sequel is due to be published this year so there may well be some answers there.

The Handmaid's Tale quote 2

I think it’s pretty obvious by this point but just to confirm; I absolutely loved this book! Atwood is a wonderful wordsmith and I can see why she is so successful as an author. I cannot wait to check out more of her work! Reading The Handmaid’s Tale made me question so much about myself, my opinions and society as a whole. It’s one of those books that will leave you pondering long after you have read the last page and I can’t recommend it enough!

Have you read it? What did you think of it? Are you looking forward to the sequel? 

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x

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