I’m back today with my review of The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopia classic by famed author Margaret Atwood.
Since the shows second season release, my moms been begging to watch it together and when she started telling me more about the plot, I couldn’t resist!
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The Handmaid’s Tale| A Book Review
Plot & Setting
“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.” – Goodreads
Never has a plot felt more relevant. The Handmaid’s Tale may have been out for decades already but especially with the #metoo movement, it feels like the perfect time for this story to get another shot at a screen adapt. I thought, as terrifying as Gilead was, it was also so well written and interesting to learn about how it came to be. Atwood created a really gripping universe but what makes it so compelling is how much it’s grounded in reality.
What made me most excited to read Handmaid’s June’s line in the tv show trailer, where she and the other Handmaid’s are in the supermarket, and she looks so disconnected from it all as she narrates “I don’t need an orange. I need to scream.” It was her wit and sarcasm from the show that drew me in – however I was kind of disappointed to see that was way more present in the shows version of June.
I think Nick is a really interesting and complex character – not to mention sneaky. He’s an expert at playing both sides – a loyal driver to June’s commander and a mysterious Eye. Both in the show and book, I liked Nick’s character a lot and want to know more about how he came to be on both sides.
The Commander & Serena Joy
I have no sympathy or feelings (other than disgust) for The Commander. I felt like, in the book, Atwood tried to make him a little more sympathetic in June’s eyes -but any man who could have a hand in creating the world of Gilead doesn’t merit that – no matter how much disdain he and his wife have for each other.
Serena Joy, on the other hand, I felt a lot of sympathy for. No matter how cruel she got towards June, i couldn’t help but get it. She’s just like June, trapped. I think Serena was one of my favorite characters for that reason.
Book vs Screen
Well…this is one of the very few times I’m going to say the show does it better. It delves way more into characters backstories, how Gilead came to be and added much more flavor to each of the stories characters. Usually ‘not enough’ is a problem I have with the movie when it skips over things I would have loved to see come to life on screen – but in this case, it was the opposite. Not to say the book is bad, but if you’ve read it and are hungry for more, the show really digs deeper!
I’m giving The Handmaid’s Tale 4/5 stars. I loved the plot itself (as scary as it is to think it could be reality) and June’s harrowing tale of survival is unique and inspiring – however I was really disappointed that her narration was so different from the show.
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And there’s my book review of The Handmaid’s Tale! I highly recommend both reading and watching it if dystopia is your type of genre 🙂
Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale? Let me know in the comments down below and let’s talk about it!
That’s it for me tonight, have an awesome week everyone <3