Terrifying. Powerful. Frankly…. a little disappointing.
A dystopian future in which healthy, fertile women are used for their ovaries. They aren’t allowed to read. They are constantly watched. They are owned by men and the Wives. Sex is obligatory and every woman must pray that she gets pregnant or else face exile or even death. We follow the main character Offred as she negotiates her way through this new world as a handmaid to a powerful Commander. We see her memories of the world before, of the fall, and of her time at the Red Center where she learned to keep her head down and ears open.
The story itself is beautifully written. It has an amazingly powerful message to the world. It’s exhilarating to read. I get nervous when Offred gets nervous. I get angry when Offred gets angry. I cry when she cries. The events within the story are horrifying. One can only imagine what would happen if religious nut-cases ever got that powerful. There is little character development, but the events seem to only happen within a month or two, besides the flashbacks. The only aspect that disappointed was that I feel the story was cut short. We don’t get to find out what happened to Offred. There is no rebellion that takes place. I don’t even really have a clear picture of how that world came to be. I do appreciate the “Historical Notes” because they tell me that the Republic of Gilead remains and is thriving. But, in a way, that makes the ending even more of a bummer. It’s almost as if Atwood was leaving it to continue as a series. Now I have to watch the series on Hulu to help me out.
Although a little short, I recommend to those looking for a good story.