The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book can be summed up in one word: Harrowing.
With only some very small changes in rules and culture, women are forced into servitude for their own “safety” and for the “good of humanity”. Triggered by the need for the human race to continue to procreate once fertility rates drop to near zero, “Handmaids” are provided to powerful couples in order for them to have children. These are the few fertile women, who are regularly raped and exploited.
Under the cover of the Christian religion, America is now “The Republic of Gilead”, using fables to allow the government (or what passes for government in this dystopian vision), to enslave and mistreat women. Their borders are closed. Anyone could be an “Eye”. Trust no one.
We only know the main character of this tale as “Offred”, her real name is never revealed; if she were to be moved to a different household, then her name would also change. The “Of Fred” being the indication that she is the property of the man of the house. The narrative is told through the internal viewpoint and thought processes of Offred herself. How she has to behave to survive, and the alliances that she makes along the way. How will society mend itself? Can it?
It’s very easy to see the world tipping to extremes of behaviour. In some countries women still have no rights. The human race needs to be better than that.
Nolite te Bastardes carborundorum.
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