Publisher: O. W. Toad Ltd.
Publication Date: 1986
Genre: Dystopia, Social Commentary
“In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies? 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 in which 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 only valued if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days 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…. Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.” – Book Description, Shelfari
I read this book about five years ago for a Women in Lit class (high school, and The Small Nerd took this class with me). At the time, I really liked it. I thought it was amazing with the aspects of a dystopian society that was so small that it even had tourists. And the most terrifying thing about this book was that there was a sense of reality in it.
It reflected a society where population was dwindling, and it needed to be saved. So to do that, women who could bare children were revered, and those who could not, were useless. I suppose there are a million things I could say about why I liked this book at the time; and there probably were a million reason…five years ago.
But this time around, for The Three Nerds, I couldn’t get into the book. I wasn’t sucked into the book like I once was. The aspect of these monthly (copulation, or as Offred put it “fucking”) ceremonies, and the birthing ceremonies no longer scared me. I found them hilarious. They were so awkward and I understood the symbolism behind it, and why the wives need to be there.
Normally, I would recommend this book (and I probably did at one point), but this time around, it’s not a book that I could even muster the energy to enjoy. I’m sure this book is awesome in its own right, but for me, right now, it was not a good fit.