On finishing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the only thing I could say at first was “Wow!” It is quite a story, so very well written, so very powerful, and so very sobering…I think it will stay with me for a long, long time.
Set in a dystopian future, in what these days seems chillingly like the near future, women have lost all rights. “Handmaids” are the only women who are still able to bear children, and their existence is completely dependent on being successful in producing a child…a child that another woman of a higher status will raise.
The story is an interesting exploration of the lives of women in a totalitarian regime. It is a profound immersion into the “What Ifs” we must all ask ourselves about our society. I found it sad, disturbing, and fascinating, but not without hope! I couldn’t put it down.
I’ve been thinking about it since I finished it a few days ago and realized that I am looking at things differently now. This is a perspective-changing book, and during this tumultuous time in US history, I think it is an important book for exactly that reason. It was written in 1985, and I was aware of it but until last week was too intimidated to read it. However, I’ve been so concerned about the direction our society is taking these days and the difficult challenges we all face, that I felt that instead of “escaping” (my usual response to overwhelming news), I needed to tackle some of these ideas head on. I’m glad I finally found the courage to do so.