My first encounter with “The Handmaid’s Tale” was through the television show. I only watched three episodes, but it scared me. I’m not one to watch shows or films where people suffer and/or experience trauma. I’m too empathetic. So needless to say, when my wife suggested that we read the book and discuss it, I was wary. At least with viewing something you can look away; not so with reading. Thankfully, the book’s tone was very different from the tv show.
This was part of what I liked about the book. I liked that there was not a clear linear story line and was told in episodes. I think this made me pay more attention to the story in order to piece together what is happening. It also allowed me to process some of the intense moments that unfold. I liked Offred’s voice and the way in which she explains her decisions without asking my permission or forgiveness. The way in which Offred tells us her story made the whole thing seem real even though this is speculative fiction. It was a real mind-bend to consider that this was written in the 80’s but the discussion of women’s bodies and autonomy is STILL being debated in 2021.
I have not decided if I would read this again. I appreciated the study of the book, but it was not an enjoyable read. I probably would read this for a book club or in a class setting but not for just the enjoyment of reading.