Well, I haven’t written one of these for a while! But its Sunday evening and I am nicely full from a delicious dinner which James just cooked so I am using this as a distraction from having to go and clean my kitchen!
If I didn’t have quite so many dishes to avoid doing this could be a very short review- its amazing go and read this book!
But since I do have lots of cleaning to avoid I will expand upon this. This book is brilliant. Seriously. I read it in a day. I just couldn’t put in down.
It is set in a dystopian future where birth rates have declined and fertile women are now a prized merchandise and locked in to a form of servitude valued only for their ability to reproduce- the handmaid’s of the title.
The book is written as the recollections of one woman Offred, literally Of Fred (clever huh?!) and the narrative jumps around a bit in that skilful way so by the time you reach the end of the book you have a consistent (if not complete) picture of this woman’s story. Note I don’t say complete here, Atwood leaves many gaps which the reader can only fill in themselves and I guarantee you will be fervently wishing for a sequel!
I can’t remember now where I found out about this book- all I know is that it was sitting on my Amazon wish list for months before I finally brought it, and oh how I regret stalling. This book has given me so much food for thought when it comes to the position of women within society and the consequences of how we treat those around us. It is easy in our bright western world to forget that there are still some countries where women are treated as property, valued for their ability to reproduce only and denied basic rights… like say voting, an education or perhaps driving. Whilst in 1985 (when this book was first published) the feminist agenda was still one to be fought on home territory now the platform and location for the fight has changed. Now that it is no longer on our door step it is easy to forget the immediacy of the themes which this book raises; because I live in a country which grants me equal rights and status it doesn’t mean that my sister on the other side of the world goes to bed tonight with the same security. This book has reminded me of the path which some societies take to the detriment of half their members and has taught me that complacency because my own situation is fair is not an option.
This was for me an incredibly thought provoking novel which has been on my mind ever since, I will certainly be seeking out more of Margaret Atwood’s work. I highly recommend that you pick up this book and think on what Atwood has to say.