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The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood

  • Release Date: 1986-02-17
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4.5
From 6,095 Ratings


Before The Testaments, there was The Handmaid’s Tale: an instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.


  • Dark and disturbing

    By read2scape
    While this book revealed how objectified woman are and could be through an extreme version of a dystopian society, I questioned why it had to be so violent. The hangings, suicidal themes, and the narrow and disturbing view of women made me not want to keep reading.
  • Fantastic writing

    By Jamion3
    4.5 Atwood has such a unique voice.I am constantly amazed by her craft, However, I felt that the ending was a little rushed and could have been delved into a little more, but overall I loved the book.
  • So Poignant, So Timely

    By Josey86
    The only logical reason for this book to be banned anywhere is that the conservatives reading it are down for a world similar to Gilead and they don’t want the rest of us warned. This book is poignant. It should be required reading for every high school student. It opens the chance to talk about respect for all, freedom for all, consent for all. If those things offend your precious sensibilities, you’re children need to read this book even more and so do you. This book is timely, seeing that we are - right this minute - faced with a president who is threatening to dispose of the democratic process for his own gains. This book has become even more timely in the last week and a half with the very real possibility of a new SCOTUS judge that would gladly take away women’s rights to respect, freedom, and consent, even though that means she is forfeiting those rights for herself!
  • Hits too close to home

    By bread bowl boi
    May I just say, I love this book- This was my first introduction into the world of Atwood’s speculative fiction, and I must say what I’ve read so far hits too close to home yet I keep reading since it’s so interesting It honestly seems as though America is heading towards a mixture of this and the oryx and crake- And guys, this is just a good read in the first place, like I wholeheartedly recommend this book and it’s sequel I love the way it goes into philosophy and how constraining people’s freedom to the Bible can lead to some very gut wrenching thoughts And it goes into how these constraints can be unrealistic as everyone is different and forcing people into these small boxes can be really harmful because everyone will break them, especially the ones enforcing them
  • So much yessssss!

    By JoNoKelly
    Loved this book! The show on Hulu is great too!
  • Very good, differs from show a bit

    By Subway33
    Very good overall! Differs from the show a good bit so keep that in mind. Very clever and entertaining throughout.
  • wow

    By vaping doesnt make you cool
    this book is amazing !! i have been having trouble finding books that i can’t put down, and this definitely cured me of that. i read it in about 3 days, it is so beautiful. the characters are strong and this book has amazing feminist themes. i would totally recommend this⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Handmaids Tale is scary! Too close to home!

    By TLHaywood
    In today’s misogynistic political climate, this book hits WAY too close to home. It is frightening how society crushes women so quickly and turns them into property. Even though it is fiction, it could too easily become fact.
  • Don’t waste your time

    By cjalldayy
    The book was interesting enough until half way through I realized that there wasn’t any real conflict or overall stakes. Our character wasn’t trying to escape or scheming to get more information from the ppl around her. She wasn’t DOING anything, and everything was just happening TO her. She’s a very passive character who doesn’t grow or develop much at all. Which is very disappointing considering the social commentary the book is trying to make. I’ve read better books on dystopian futures with more compelling characters so don’t even bother with this one
  • Excellent But

    By carocross
    Would have liked more info on what happened in Gilead