Reading: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

First: I’m incredibly thankful that I did not read this in high school. It was bad enough reading The Awakening and being called a “femi-Nazi”. It’s one of the reasons I chose to go to a women’s college instead of a co-ed school (a decision I will be paying for for the rest of my life…it was worth it.)

Second: AMAZING. The plausibility factor is terrifying. Plus you can see the influence Atwood had over the authors of recent dystopian Young Adult  publications, like Bumped, Delirium, and (my least favorite) Matched (though they are also good reads for adults…I hate the YA classification).

There’s a lot I want to say about this book, but I’m medicated (I had my wisdom teeth removed this morning). Instead, I will share some of my favorite passages…good stuff here.

“There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.”

“Whatever is going on is as usual. Even this is as usual, now. We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

“I marvel again at the nakedness of men’s lives: the showers right out in the open, the body exposed for inspection and comparison, the public display of privates. What is it for?…What don’t women have to prove to one another that they are women?…”

“But if you happen to be a man, sometime in the future, and you’ve made it this far, please remember: you will never be subject to the temptation or feeling you must forgive, a man, as a woman. It’s difficult to resist, believe me. But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.”

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

“Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely….” – This goes on…and it’s spectacular. Love is so complex…and I really love how Atwood describes it.

Final thought/question: What is the allure of a woman in a bunny costume? Are men attracted to rabbits?

Great read…if you’re a fan of speculative fiction or dystopian novels and you haven’t read this, you should! (I can’t wait to read more by Margaret Atwood.)

Also…this brings me a little bit closer to finishing the Back to the Classics challenge! 20th century classic…check!

View all my reading related thoughts

(Quotes are from the Overdrive Media Digital Edition…thanks Greater Phoenix Digital Library. And…I waited weeks to get access, it would have been faster to borrow a physical copy…but with the book in my hand, I would have waited to read it…tricky business!)


    1. After I read this, I read Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood. Both were amazing! I think The Blind Assassin or The Robber Bride will be next!

  1. I LOVED this book! It has been awhile since I read it, so thank you for including those passages… it helped bring it all back to me. The Blind Assassin is sitting on my shelf now, and I can’t wait to read it (I’ve been saving it to be my last book of the challenge)

  2. “But if you happen to be a man, sometime in the future, and you’ve made it this far, please remember: you will never be subject to the temptation or feeling you must forgive, a man, as a woman.”

    OK, well I am a man, sometime in the future, and I’m very confused by this sentence. I understand the idea of temptation to forgive; that is clear enough. Any insight into what is meant by “a man, as a woman”?

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