Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Moving Day Coming Soon   01/11/2021

      As many of you know, we've been looking at changing hosts for a while now. This will allow us to access the tech support we need for the site and should speed up the forum as well as ironing out a few issues we've been having recently.    We are now signed up to the new hosting plan and can go ahead with the move as soon as the new hosts have everything they need (which is currently being sorted!). The forum should not be offline for more than a day during the switch and hopefully it won't even take that long. I don't have an exact time or day for the move yet but this is an early warning to expect some downtime soon.   When we are offline, no matter how briefly, you can follow the forum twitter page (@bookclubforum) for updates.  
Maureen

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Recommended Posts

I'm not sure they considered it an amusing blip - but they certainly considered it an abberation. I suppose Atwood is telling us that reversion to conservative society may happen, but in the end it just won't last and that society will eventually progress. Arguably, it's a very positive message to have at the end of a book that's generally pretty grim about the human motive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I considered it grimly amusing, all the bureaucrats sitting around talking about something they knew nothing of, a fact proved by the cavalier manner in which they spoke of the characters plights we'd just read about. They didn't have a clue as to the heartbreak and terrible events that had happened. It was a blip on the radar to them, and an uninteresting one at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

This was the first Atwood I read and she is now one of my favourite authors. My favourite book by Atwood is probably The Robber Bride. But I also thoroughly enjoyed Alias Grace. My favourite short story is in The Tent about cat's being raptured up to heaven.

 

S x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my review Here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this book for my Eng Lit A level and did an essay comparing this with 1984. I really loved the book and often re-read it. I still find it a real page turner even though I have read it loads of times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1- Who was your favourite character and why?

I find this a really hard question for this novel, at first I thought I didn't have one, that maybe, though a superb book it was the writing style and the plot that made it so. But with a bit of reflection I think that maybe it's the peripheral characters I enjoyed the most, Luke (not just because he's my namesake:tong:), there daughter, Offreds mom, Nick, it was the fleeting descriptions and there actions that really kept me reading, it really humanised a book that could easily be considered implausible by some and kept me reading just because I wanted to know more.

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?



I didn't dislike any of it, though I think the most enjoyable part was in a very odd way the parts where Offred was at her lowest, such as when she receives a picture of her child for a fleeting moment. Not enjoyable in a conventional sense, but the writing just conveyed the sort of repressed despair and emptyness better than many novels manage to convey any emotion.

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

Though my first Atwood novel, it is far from my first dystopian future novel, I really cannot get enough of those, well at least when they're done well. Anyhow, I think I will definatley have to read more Atwood eventually.

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I sometimes found it hard to believe that people would go with it so willingly, I think having no suppresion in my life makes it hard for me to believe people would let it happen as easily as Offreds descriptions of it seemed, but then the way people act in some African countrys to the latest military coup, or how religion leads some Muslim women to dress, or to a much greater extent the rise of Naziism and how very much whilst it was happening, people just ignored what was going on means that it really isn't impplausible enough for me to stop reading, or even for it to detract from the reading experience.

In all honesty by the end it was probably more thought provoking than anything else.

5- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes, yes it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think I have ever read a Dystopian novel before - my only experiences were films such as The Fortress :D, and real live news. The life portrayed is horrifying, the despair of the oppressed, palpable. At first I did not catch on the Of-whatever-his -name-is-master naming thing, and I admit that this bothered me much more than it should have done, considering the other ways of life of the society. One aspect which rang true is the Aunts as opressors, unfortunately, real life is much like that, people who are closest to the bottom, would do anything, especially crush their own kind, to get a foot up the ladder to the top.

A strange book, quite unusual, but I'm glad I read it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't like this book. I hate how women lived in the 18th century and before, as maids in houses, it's exactly like that. I also hate how women gossip to each other.

That's the point being made in the book; that women were placed in such positions, subserviant to the male needs and requirements. It is certainly a very uncomfortable read in parts, but thought provoking all the same.

 

I assume you mean in your last sentence there that you hate the act of gossip within the text, not that you were making a statement about women in general! :tong:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was my review ~

 

'The Handmaid's Tale' tells the story of Offred, (you never know her surname) a handmaid who lives in the Republic of Gilead, in the place that was formerly Massachusetts, in a world that has changed dramatically following a revolution, the world now has a new order and if you do not believe in that order you are either executed or sent to the 'colonies' where they are forced to work with radioactive waste.

 

Infertile is the main problem following the new order due to female scientists who, when they knew they were destined for the brothel or the "Colonies," cooked up and gave themselves a virulent disease that rendered all of their sexual partners permanently sterile, and then spread to all of their sexual partners, this eventually leads to the downfall of Gilead in the future.

 

Offred, which is not her real name, you never find out her real name but I think her name is June, Offred or 'of Fred' which means she is owned by a man called Fred i.e The Commander, because Offred had been married to a divorced man before the new order began and because she gave birth to a baby daughter in her previous life, Offred becomes a handmaid, her sole purpose being to produce children because the wives of the Commanders are infertile When the story begins Offred has arrived at Commander's House having previously lived with two commanders and unsuccessfully not becoming pregnant, this is her third and final chance of having baby, her reward if she has a baby, she will be not be sent to the colonies.

 

Offred is looked down upon by others especially the wives of the Commanders because of her role as Handmaid, and because of the new world order, they are now barracked in one area, not allowed to speak each other, can only go out with their 'shopping twin', who is also a handmaid. All handmaids must wear red and have their bodies and faces covered to stop men or women feeling desire. Sex has also become purely functionary, in the new world order there is no need for 'Love' or the idea of 'Falling in love'. As the story progresses we see Offred developing two relationships with men.

 

'The Handmaid's Tale' explores many different subjects, religion, the role of men and women, racism, fascism and infertility, Offred is quite a strong character but sad at the same time, she has lost her husband (who she believes is dead), her daughter (who has been adopted by a infertile couple), the only hope she has is that things will change eventually and also the hope that she will eventually become pregnant.

 

'The Handmaid's Tale' will give you something to think about, I found myself thinking whilst reading, if something like this happened, I would be off to the Colonies so fast with the rest of 'Unwomen' which infertile woman are call in the book, which I found very harsh, but in the grand scale of things, 'The Handmaid's Tale' is about survival, and unfortunately being not able to produce children is not good for survival.

 

What I liked most about the book was Offred's secret resistance to the new world, her thoughts concerning the Commander's wives were negative in every sense but I think they helped Offred to cope with her situation.

 

The book is not all doom and gloom, but it did scare me in parts, the need for children especially did strike a chord with me but the main message is hope, hope for the future for Offred.

 

I recommend this book highly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great review Weave!

 

It's a powerful book in many ways, and I think it especially speaks to women.

 

I agree Chrissy, thanks :smile2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished this book and not really sure what I think about it... the ending is especially surprising - here's hoping she made it out of the oppressive culture - but would I ever have left all I know (especially husband & child) behind??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×