There’s been a whole bunch of reviews posted for this book already, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time recapping the plot in my own words. Goodreads can help me out here:
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to the food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
I’ve kept putting off this review, because I know it’s going to be a really difficult one to write and I want to do the book justice. Obviously, I had heard of The Handmaid’s Tale long before Hulu announced that they were going to adapt it into a mini-series (the first episodes of which are now available to view, not that I have the emotional strength to do so yet). One of my favourite works of literary fiction of all time is The Blind Assassin, another of Atwood’s novels, but this is probably still her most famous and well-known work, all the more so now that it’s become all too terrifyingly timely.
Full review on my blog.