Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Category: 28. Read a book labelled as a best seller this year
Date Started: February 14th 2017
Date Finished: February 21st 2017
In keeping with my theme of the year, this is yet another book with a theme that includes how powerful words are. The protagonist (Offred) exists in a world where she, as a woman is not allowed to read anything, nor is she allowed to write anything. Of course, Offred remembers a time when that was not the case, a time when her name was not Offred and was not changeable depending on which household she was assigned to.
Offred is a Handmaid, dressed all in red, her only job is to get pregnant and carry a healthy child to term. The child will be raised by the household and she will be moved to a new household to perform the same role. Nothing about her life is her own anymore. She cannot choose her clothes, her food, her sexual partner or where she goes.
As both a woman and a lesbian this book was incredibly powerful to me, as I’m sure it has been for many others. While women’s rights have not taken the downward spiral described by Atwood nor have LGBT+ rights, there is certainly a sense of powerlessness, it’s politicians and voters who hold the power rather than you as an individual. Offred and the other Handmaid’s offer a perfect look into what life might be like when one doesn’t even have the power to choose the clothes they wear or what they eat for breakfast.
The fact that such a book still resonates so strongly is a testament to how little has changed in the everyday lives of many minorities, in particular women. The quote at the top of this review is certainly true. If equality were to exist for women then men would surely be slightly worse off.