Surprisingly this was another of those books that I somehow managed to not cross paths with while I was making my way through the Canadian education system. However when Nicole learned that I hadn’t, and assures me in her school they did, she suggested I should as well. And having now read it, believe that Atwood’s story would have been a much better companion to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World than being paired with George Orwell’s 1984 – which is a great book as well but perhaps not the best comparison my teacher could have employed. The Handmaid’s Tale is a look at a not too distant future dystopian society, who has become largely sterile thanks to the high toxicity which now permeates their country. Having overthrown the previous government a puritanical regime assumes power, purging those elements they found undesirable, before establishing institutional polygamy for their elite, after rounding up women who met certain criteria as potential surrogates. Our narrator is one of these handmaidens, who recounts her experience to the people who once shared her life and are slowly fading from her memory.
Despite how sad it can be to accompany Offred – read as Of-Fred – on this journey, it’s written with the author’s trademark ease, that you flow along with the story, and makes for a great read during the commute. It’s certainly something I’d recommend to any reader out there – definitely worth picking up.