Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I have been meaning to read The Handmaid’s Tale for about 12 years since my sister-in-law told me about it way back when we were in a book club together. Around that time I read The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and something about the title of this book made me think it was a period drama. I kept forgetting that it was one of the original dystopian novels. I am happy I finally read it, but I was kind of disappointed.

Margaret Atwood created a horrifying dystopian world, and I can see why people are drawing parallels with the current American government. That part of the book was very well done. And the character is also fully fleshed out. Offred’s account of her daily life is very detailed. This book is very character-driven, and if that’s your thing, then you will enjoy this book.

But I think books need three things to be great: world-building (which can be skipped if it’s a contemporary book), character development, and plot. This book fell seriously short for me on the plot part. Nothing happens in this book. It’s a diary-like rending of average events in a world controlled by religion, but I’m sorry. Nothing happens. And then it just ends. Seriously?! Nope. This book just wasn’t for me. I only gave it 3 starts because the world-building was amazing.

The verdict is still out on whether I’ll watch the Hulu show. Maybe more happens there??

Rating: 3 Stars

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
Audible a-list Collection
July 20, 2012

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire—neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs...

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  1. I almost skipped out on the TV show because I feel the same about the book… I think I gave it two or three stars on GR. BUT – the TV show is so, so, so good. The world building and all the details I wanted are actually realized and fleshed out. I say give it a try, if you have Hulu 🙂

  2. I read The Handmaid’s Tale years ago and thought it was incredible. I started watching the TV show, got 3 episodes in, and it was just too tough for me. The plot is much more detailed and exciting than the novel, so you’ll probably like the show, but man is it graphic and tough to watch.

    1. Cool. Thanks. I think once Game of Thrones ends, I may be able to convince my husband to watch The Handmaid’s Tale with me. I don’t mind gore. I just need action. 🙂

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