Book Reviews of The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
ISBN-13: 9780449212608
ISBN-10: 0449212602
Publication Date: 12/12/1986
Pages: 395
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 690

4 stars, based on 690 ratings
Publisher: Fawcett
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

67 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
An excellent and disturbing near future story. In the Republic of Gilead - which is what appeared after the US was violently overthrown - women are property, with few rights, and no control over their own destinies or bodies. We meet Offred - a handmaid to her Commander - and learn some of her past, as well as some of the history that brought the Republic into power.

Full of disturbing imagery, this is a powerful story that will make you think. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I truly fascinating book about what happens when separation of Church and State collapse and a small but powerful group with very strong beliefs forces one and all to submit. The writing is very strong, with artful, and compelling use of suspense and characters. Once you start, it's a pageturner from start to finish.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
This book is amazing, intelligent and thought-provoking. It's my first exposure to Margaret Atwood and, on the strength of this one, I'll be reading her other books.

A cautionary tale, told through simple fiction, it more than deserves all the attention it garnered. A must read!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A very disturbing vision of the future. Though written twenty years ago, the topics seem modern: mix of church and state - pro life/choice - women's rights - protection of the earth and environment - religious freedoms. Great book for a reading group. Wonderful character and environment development. Very quick read, but the story won't leave you as quickly.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This is a great book and one that should be read by more people, not only women. There are some scary parallels in the novel to things that have happened in the last few years. The dominionists in this country who'd like to see America become a theocracy are not that far away from the ruling party in this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Thought-provoking, as are all of Atwoods books. Illustrates the misery brought on by an excess of religion mixed with politics. Let this be a warning to those who would use power in the name of religion to "free" us from the world's evils.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 70 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A very gripping story, well written and with many beautiful images. It stalls very little at the beginning, but the second half is much more dynamic and enjoyable.

I like the author's prose. Atwood invents an almost seamless extreme futuristic world. It's tense all over. Still, I didn't like the fact that such a perfectly, deep-rooted theocracy can only been in power for three years. I found it unlikely that people would be so brain-washed in such a short period of time, even though Atwood is careful to establish that some small changes were taking place little by little.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 90 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is a very interesting book! It shows where a society might go when people don't take an interst in where a goverment is going. I liked the parts where Offred thinks about her former life. It sounds strangely like the lives we live today. Food for thought.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Fascinating tale of a near-future society where democracy and women's rights are null and void. Offred is a Handmaid - a fertile woman assigned to a Commander's home who's only function is to get pregnant and hopefully deliver a healthy baby - this is her story. Thanks to environmental and nuclear disasters that have taken place, many men and women are sterile - the men in power devised this handmaid plan to repopulate their new society. Offred has limited freedom - the only time she is allowed out of the house is once a day to walk to the market. She spins the tale of her current situation intermingled with backstory from her childhood, her college years and her former marriage as well as how she ended up as a handmaid. Margaret Atwood is a brillant writer and this classic will not disappoint. And while this book is considered sci-fi, do not let the label scare you off, it is a wonderful story with excellent writing and a frightening message. One of my new favorites.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Listed as one of the best one hundred books of the 20th Century. It did not disappoint.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
Helpful Score: 2
Oh my gosh, this is the best book I have read in years. The text is so fluid and just draws you in and embraces you. I found myself crying at one point and when the end came I was sad that the ride was over. I highly recommend this book to everyone!!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One of the smartest most engrossing books I have ever read. A future society played backwards of the womens equality movement.Fascinating and revels how bad things could get if testosterone ruled the day unchallenged. Thats really all I can say without spoiling it for everybody.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Wonderful book. It has a very Orwellian feel with a completely different story line. This book really made me think what direction the world would have gone in if we didn't have progress in the areas of women's liberation. A real eye opener for me.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an eerie book, in terms of what was written as to women that had no control over their bodies and were definitely second class citizens. Then I think of women in other parts of the world today that are being treated in similar ways or worse. Then I thought of why didn't people fight back before all of this happened, a lot of questions. This is a work of fiction but still was disturbedly thought provoking. I would recommend this book.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
Helpful Score: 1
I don't normally like futuristic-type stories but this one really grabbed me. A glimpse into a future where women aren't permitted to socialize, read, etc. Their one true purpose is to provide and provide for children. The author did a great job of bring the story to life....it was somewhat eerie.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
Helpful Score: 1
This is probably the only book that I was forced to read for a class that I actually enjoyed. Handmaid's Tale is easily one of the best books I've read.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book really makes you think. A good read, I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting futuristic story. The ending left me wanting more.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was an amazing futuristic story that will scare the bejeezus out of any self-respecting woman. Margaret Atwood is a brilliant storyteller.
"The Handmaid's Tale deserves the highest praise." The San Fransisco Chronicle.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A great concept and a neat story, although I think I kept trying too hard to figure out where this was happening, or discover hidden secrets, when there weren't any. Atwood presents a chilling view of a potential future, and does it very straightforwardly and engagingly. I definitely recommend this book.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was the first Atwood book I ever read and it was awesome!! Love this author!!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very interesting book. I had been looking for something different from what I usually read, and this was definately it. Intriguing...disturbing...kept my interest to the end.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 181 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The Religious Right has officially taken over and all women lose their rights. On top of that they are also facing a reproduction crisis due to all the toxins used. Because of this, any woman that is considered fertile (has given birth in the recent past) becomes high commodity and are reprogrammed by Aunts and sent to homes deemed worthy. The women are used by the man of the house in hopes of conceiving. The creepy way that it is required by the powers that be to conceive is hard to read because I just couldnt imagine human beings using another in such a way. Suffice it to say, the Handmaids (as they are called), are not well liked by the wives of the head of the household and they must tread lightly.

The Handmaids Tale is told from the POV of Offred and her life in the Republic of Gilead. After being reprogrammed she is sent to her new home. She, of course, remembers a time when she was had freedom and wore what she wanted and even had a job, a husband and a child. Now she is considered nothing more than a womb. If she wanted to leave this service she would be stripped of her title and become unwoman and sent to the colonies to do manual labor. The way it was hinted at is that this is something you do not want. In fact, many a Handmaid has taken her life instead of facing the current future or the alternative.

The Handmaids Tale was a decent read and Atwood definitely built a scary world. I personally would have loved if there were some further explanations to the events that happened that caused the Religious Right to take over so quickly. I just wanted more from this novel. The whole time I was reading The Handmaids Tale; it played out in my mind as an old black and white movie and I felt really disconnected from Offred. Worth a read if you like dystopian novels but wouldnt say it would be top priority.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
Helpful Score: 1
Margaret Atwood gives a disturbing account of a world where very extreme right-wing policies have been instated. It was a gripping read, every chance I had a free moment I had to read to see what happened to Offred. You won't be disappointed with this book.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 279 more book reviews
Really fascinating. I highly recommend.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 39 more book reviews
This is a strange, demented, yet scary book. Lets hope our world never takes on any form of this.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 7 more book reviews
Dystopia is not usually my cup of tea, but this one did the trick. Kept me reading and provoked some interesting thinking. Exactly what you want when youstray into a new genre seeking inspiration/change/new ideas.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 8 more book reviews
Another book that was read for my book club. It was a unique look at a Big Brother type civilization that could be ours in the future. I was surprised by the ending. It wasn't how I thought it would end, but was great.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 75 more book reviews
I recently finished another Atwood book, Oryx & Crake, and mentioned in my notes that it was like a social critique blown all out of proportion to the point where it was so out of touch with reality that the satire was lost in the exaggeration. Handmaid's Tale is the exact same kind of social critique, but done *exactly* right. It's just the right tone to chill you, make you smile wryly, raise your ire, and make you think long and hard about how closely the book skirts the line between fact and fiction.
Given the current state of world affairs, this book was doubly frightening.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
I read another book by her and was very interested in reading this one - tried 3 times but just couldn't get past the first 100 pages...
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 7 more book reviews
I love this book. It started my collection of margaret Atwood books, I own almost all of them. I had to order an additional copy of this book because I could not find mine, (I have loaned this book out numerous times.)
I would recommend to everyone.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 23 more book reviews
Great book by a great author. Paints a picture of a world all too believable.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 69 more book reviews
I read this book about 10 years ago and it still scares the bajezums out of me.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
One of my all-time favorites!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 9 more book reviews
This is one of my favorite all-time novels. It's at once futuristic and frighteningly contemporary...
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 285 more book reviews
Great story!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 296 more book reviews
This is an excellent book and, I think, demonstrates how the country would be if the current administration and the fanatic "religious right" (which is neither) have their way to the fullest!!!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 49 more book reviews
A chilling portrait of a future where society has changed and is trying to control women's bodies. Where women are not allowed to read but their value is on their ability to reproduce. Frailties of the former times surface and an underground works to free the handmaidens. A thought provoking but frightening view of a possible future.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 10 more book reviews
This book is a shocking view into a Utopia that you cannot help but find yourself wondering....Could this actually happen? Very powerful!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 38 more book reviews
This book knocked my socks off. I loved it and kept thinking about it for days after I finished.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 26 more book reviews
Amazing writer, totally engrossing story!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 27 more book reviews
Chilling portrait of a future that only Margaret Atwood can tell. She is a great author!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on
Very interesting book- kinda scary to think something like that could happen...
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 11 more book reviews
A somewhat disturbing/odd story on how one author sees one possibility for the future. Interesting views on society, and human psychology. Basically the story is women being stripped of their rights and live their lives controlled by men.
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amazing tale of technological "progress" and the subjugation of women...
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 2 more book reviews
Fascinating, haunting story
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 88 more book reviews
A very different type of story,but captivating.This book should definately hold your interest from start to finish.Disturbing,futuristic.
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Wonderful book!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 30 more book reviews
One of my favorite books of all time.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 24 more book reviews
A classic in its own right, Margaret Atwood is a wonderful writer that really knows how to evoke emotion.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 53 more book reviews
A great look at how society could become in the future especially for women. Definitely recommend this book.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 5 more book reviews
A truly amazing book from a fabulous author. Everyone should read this book!
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 9 more book reviews
Wonderful and unnerving story of what our distant future may hold. Quick read, well-written.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 44 more book reviews
I thought this was a fantastic book. There is an interesting interview with Margaret Atwood on Bill Moyer's Faith and Reason series that talks quite a bit about the book.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/faithandreason/portraits_atwood.html
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 2 more book reviews
Good story about a young woman in a dystopian society
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 10 more book reviews
In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 40 more book reviews
Great book. Wickedly twisted.
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phenominal
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 355 more book reviews
more wierd than anthing else
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 287 more book reviews
This is one of my favorite books. It's scary to think how easily the world slipped into the Republic of Gilead.
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Very interesting and thought provoking tale.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 111 more book reviews
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmands are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge, but all of that is gone now...everything has changed.
________________________________

THE HANDMAID'S TALE
In rich, pure language, in a story so powerful it will move you to tears, Margaret Atwood has drawn a chilling protrait of a future that may not be so very far away.

WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
BEST FICTION AWARD FOR 1986

"EXTRAORDINARILY SATISFYING,
DISTURBING, AND COMPELLING,"
The Washington Post Book World
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 130 more book reviews
Interesting and thought provoking tale.
reviewed The Handmaid's Tale on + 6 more book reviews
Great read! Couldn't put it down.
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One of my favorites
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Very Interesting
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