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Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Number of Pages: 395 pages
Book Number/Goal: 5/50 for 2011
My Rating: 3/5

Jacket Summary: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.

Review: This was interesting and well-written, but I wasn't wowed. It felt very dated in that way old sci-fi often does and some things were just so over the top I was laughing (like the pornomobiles or whatever). Offred annoyed me. The fact that the only non-heterosexual person in the story was a political lesbian annoyed me (Offred specifically says that Moira "decided to prefer women" because she was sick of men's misogyny). The way race is not dealt with at all annoyed me (clearly the author was aware that she was writing an entirely white world with Gilead, because the epilogue is all people of color talking about the history of Gilead at some conference or something, but no one in Offred's story or in the epilogue makes any mention of what happened to all the people of color in the US when it became Gilead; they all just act as if there were only white people there to begin with, idk). (Also the way the few non-Gilead people of color are described is so stereotypical. The Japanese tourists snapping photos of everything and the Arabs dressed in "white robes and headbands" or something. I don't remember the exact wording.)


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