Why hello there … Remember me? Yes, I used to read books on a regular basis and share my thoughts on them with you all in Internet Land. I decided recently to read another book! Seriously though, I have still been keeping the gray matter active and after reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ I felt that I should attempt to maintain this as long as I am able to.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic dystopian novel; Margaret Atwood presents a truly terrifying alternate reality. This is a world where women are categorised based on their perceived worth to a patriarchal and despotic society. The primary character ‘Offred’ was once a happy woman living in a de-facto relationship with one young child. It was never clear to me what the trigger was for the change in society, but suffice to say that one fateful day she lost it all (there were signs of a new world order emerging).
It is clear that the world has suffered some sort of devastating environmental disaster which has rendered much of society infertile. Living in the Republic of Gilead, ‘Offred’ who has proved that she can have children, is rendered into service as little more than part of a breeding factory; she has no choice. Her new name ‘Offred’ is derived from the man of the house, the initially enigmatic ‘Commander’, and literally means ‘of Fred’. Throughout the book she is determined to maintain her internal awareness of her individuality, whilst needing to keep that hidden from the outside world.
Offred’s life becomes very complicated as humans are ever capable of being and shows the glaring hypocrisy of the society that has been manufactured by those who choose to manipulate and use and abase those within it for their own greed, need and exploitation.
This book was riveting reading and extremely discomforting, particularly in light of shocking developments in the USA. Nothing spoke more of this than an image of a room of men in the last week, who decided the reproductive fate of American women. Was Margaret Atwood writing a work of fiction, or did she have some insight into the future before her?
I’m looking forward to the mini-series, which looks like it has been beautifully made with a fine cast, but suspect I may not have the stomach to watch the abuse of women, much like I find watching the women-victims in Game of Thrones.