The Handmaid’s Tale: Book review (no spoilers)

DSC00475Rating – 8.5/10

Author – Margaret Atwood


This book tells the tale of a handmaid, Offred, who bares the red dress in a scarily realistic dystopian world, which signifies she is one of the few people left who have the ‘God given gift’ of fertility. she is trapped with in this role but is desperate to rebel by showing the considered ‘impurity’ of her thoughts of free-will, back in the days where women had the choice.

Half-way through thoughts:

This is one of the best books circling our globe. The themes it explores maybe at first seem insignificant and in-linkable, but while discussing this with my dear mother, suddenly everything came into the light. A wonderful  tale of the simple exploration of a Handmaid’s life, in a beautiful twisting of past, present and fundamental wishes we cling to when stripped of everything we once took for granted. This dystopian world creates a fine balance between shock and believability for the reader as this world is possible if our world continues to decline morally and revert to the ways and control of the past.

This cyclical structure really transformed the book for me as you expect it to be set in the past due to the themes that are circulated , however the constant mix between modern and past help demonstrate how we , as the reader, are constantly trying to find reason and justification for this way of life, only to never find one, thus placing us directly into the shoes of a handmaid.


  • The Characters – The characters here are crafted expertly as to make us invest, engage but also suspect certain characters. continuously the best bit of the protagonist (Offred) is by no means is she presented perfect, this makes her  relatable and causes us to empathise with her life and the things that happen to her.
  • The Pace – This is overall really strong as it does move at a reasonable pace, but this varies a lot so as long as you can push through the heavy read areas, this will be a solid read
  • A sense of Mystery? this is very strong as it leaves some of the most fundamental questions about the characters and the setting (the things we naturally crave most/first to understand where we ,as readers, are compared in reference to the story)  out, thus creating this craving for the reader to get a sense of security. This I believe reflects the characters emotions and manipulates us to empathise with their fear as we also have that lack of safety. This leads me onto my next question of…
  • Was it gripping? – Simple answer? yes. The lack of information is key to creating the reader’s crave of wanting to find out the exactly what is going on and why. But this is so haunting in this book by the subtle yet skilful crafting throughout of reminding us that this world is possible, so subtly breaking down the ‘fourth wall’ as-it-were (between reader and author), to directly criticise the acts of humans. And how many of the horrific and cruel themes running throughout are directly linking to our world today and the faults within our society.
  • The technical accuracy and quality – This was one of the strongest and most enticing aspects of the novel. The complex crafting of each description is cared for while the structure of every flashback and internal monologue is clear, yet creates this unignorably ,almost uncomfortable, atmosphere of fear and intelligence that Offred has , thus showing this rebellious and beautifully fresh attitude that made me personally invest in her life, thus intensifying every twist and dramatic plunge that occurs through the plot. This entwined with the deep rooted themes of religion and society etc etc made this not only a pleasurable experience but also benefitted me and gave me back something in return.

Could be improved    X

  • Cliché motifs – in some areas I’m afraid to say it seemed almost a little cringy, this reoccurring motif that seemed to meant to be haunting as cause paranoia (motif being the concept of ‘the eye’) seemed also a little been their done that in terms of creepy names and almost bombarded me with childish language in the middle of an adult book…strange.
  • Too much description in areas – this could completely ruin the pace and tension built up in areas. also the word choices used in her , as beautiful and enchanting as they are, can be slightly advanced , which means that as well as long descriptions ruining the tension, the constant googling of definitions also does.


Final thoughts

Of course I could go on forever discussing and analysing every page of this book, and the fact that I want to alone is enough for me to consider this book to be so important, influential and overall a fabulous piece of literature. So if you’re a feminist (I hope you are) this may really inspire you to make a difference in the world today in order to save ourselves from the possible fate of our future.  And if words stringed together on a page can will you into wanting to make an active part of your life, its worth reading in my book (no pun intended).

There is a TV series about this now so if you want me to do a Film Night review on that let me know!

Thanks for reading guys, hope you’re having a good reading week yourselves and feel free to comment if you have read this book or with what book you are enjoying this week.

SortingThrough X






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