The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Book - 2017
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A look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©1986
ISBN: 9781328879943
1328879941
Branch Call Number: FICTION Atw
Characteristics: 311 pages ; 22 cm

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From Library Staff

Offred, a reproductive Concubine, is assigned to conceive a child for Fred, an important figure in the theologically rigid government of the Republic of Gilead. She is drawn into a rebellion which leads to her being taken away from Fred by what appear to be government secret police.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of d... Read More »


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w
wendyheath
Aug 11, 2017

Atwood's award-winning 1985 novel will premiere on Hulu as a 10-episode series on April 26. This futuristic dystopian novel is set during a time when a radical group takes over the government and instill extreme tactics on the repression of women.

j
JackHay
Aug 09, 2017

Remember reading this at High School, excellent read

m
m0mmyl00
Aug 04, 2017

I read this book soon after it was published, but about all I remembered of it was "The Ceremony." It seemed to me then to be just a weird semi-fantasy tale. Re-reading it recently, however, I am having a different experience. It feels immediate; futuristic, but two years from now, not 100. It is eerily prescient of the new view of religion, power, and women.

The setting is what used to be the United States, but is now Gilead. It is governed by principles taken and twisted from the Old Testament. Society is strictly striated and controlled. Women cannot work or read. They are divided into three groups -- "Martha's" are household help, cooks, etc in the homes of "Commanders." "Wives" depend on their husbands for their place in society and their standard of living. "Handmaid's" are assigned for three-year stints to Commanders; their job is to reproduce. They are put through a rigorous re-education program to teach them sumbission and acceptance of their holy responsibility to provide children for their Commander. Some are "re-educated" but some cannot get over the cruelty and injustice of their "place" in the new world order. This is a chilling book.

MVBOOKCLUB Jul 29, 2017

Interesting discussion. Such a relevant book today and most members really enjoyed reading this for the first time or re-reading it.

racing14 Jul 27, 2017

A great book club selection! Wow! I never had to read Atwood in school so this was my first. I have never really connected with most Canadian Literary Authors (likely because of A Can Lit course I took or maybe it was the cheesy movie I saw on TV years back), but The Handmaid's Tale was such a phenomenal read. I can not believe it was written over 30 years ago, you would never know it, except for the lack of technology. The themes are so relevant to what is going on in today's world and it is scary to think these things can actually happen. It is a great eye opener to how history has a way of repeating itself, as the everything in the book is based on something that happened in real life and many things have happened repeatedly since the book was written.
I am looking forward to reading more by Atwood.

b
bookreader10000
Jul 12, 2017

This book is worth the read, it talks about issues that are still going on today such as: gender, power, and religion. Although I have not seen the series, I bet it is as good as the book, because the book was good.

d
darladoodles
Jul 05, 2017

I have had this book on my To Read list for many years and must confess that seeing it on the upcoming Hulu series list spurred me on to read it sooner than later.

After reading this iconic novel, I am not at all inclined to see it as a series. Don't get me wrong, I found the book well worth reading. I just don't see that a TV adaptation will add any value to it. The book stands alone.

In Gilead we find a strange society with conflicting values. On the one hand they greatly value babies, but at the same time treat the mothers of those children in a shameful way beginning with the decision to break apart all second marriages and press those women into service as handmaids.

The religion depicted in Gilead is nothing like the church I have known all my life. There is little love shown as Paul prescribed in I Corinthians 13 ("And now I will show you still a more excellent way." I Cor. 12:31b)and I see nothing of the principles that were ingrained in me since childhood to "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8)

a
alexfurey
Jun 29, 2017

It was worth the read, but sometimes this book felt like work. Atwood has a beautiful way of describing things, but at times it was like... okay, get on with the story. The book seemed a bit long winded for how much story you get out of it. Still, it's an interesting concept and because of all the description, the reader gets a real sense of the social etiquette and "rules" of this time.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jun 28, 2017

The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a truly amazing experience. I say experience rather than book because you will be fully emerged into this wonderful story and relate to this on a personal level. This story is powerful and terrifying as it throws you into a dystopian future where women are related to nothing more then categories. For a book from the 1980's it truly withstood the test of time as it relates to the problems of society and the oppression of women. I wouldn't be able to compare this story to any other books as it is so advanced that it isn't comparable. I would definitely recommend this book.
- @TheCollector of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Tarheelseminole43 Jun 28, 2017

This title is checked out very frequently by our customers at the Duluth Branch.

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Age

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j
jjwoodard
Jun 01, 2017

jjwoodard thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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eparti
Mar 29, 2015

eparti thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

EuSei Jan 25, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Saralovebaig
Nov 28, 2012

Saralovebaig thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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hardkorelish
Apr 16, 2011

hardkorelish thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Quotes

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PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“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.”

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“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.”

s
SlotFather
Jul 11, 2014

I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.

p
Pisinga
Jun 02, 2013

“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.”

i
Iridollae
Jun 12, 2011

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Notices

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c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Hangings and group lynching

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Sexual Content: Explicit sexual scenes

c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Violence: group mob attack section

Summary

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c
csrestall
Jun 01, 2017

Offred lives in a society where women are valued purely for their ability to reproduce because of rampant bareness caused by radioactive materials. Offred is one of the handmaids who are forced to procreate under the direct supervision of their commanding 'wives'. Offred had a family and a child of her own which were taken from her when she was forced to become property. All aspects of her life are controlled on pain of death. Things start to spiral downward when her Commander (baby daddy) starts speaking to her outside of the prearranged time he promises her glimpses of her old life. She is also forced into a sexual encounter with one of the servant men after her commanding wife feels the commander is incapable of getting her pregnant. She continues on this relationship even though she is afraid of being found out. The book ends rather abruptly when Offred is taken away in a van which is known to dispose of rebellious handmaids. It is implied that her lover helps her escape although it is ambiguous.

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