Kathryn’s Pick: Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I have seen The Handmaid’s Tale pass through my hands countless times and have never considered picking it up for myself until a few days ago. I finished this book in less than 24 hours because I simply just could not put it down.
In this this novel we follow a few different timelines. One is “the time before” where society is what we would consider relatively “normal.” The other is in the near future, set in an area called “Gilead”, which I am assuming is present day Massachusetts due to the mention of Salem and other familiar street names . In this dystopian future women are categorized into misogynistic roles and stripped of their past lives. They are no longer allowed to work, read, write, own property, or handle money. Some are used for surrogacy to help increase the ever-declining population while others are meant strictly to be maids for the home. All of this is overseen by a lucrative government known as “The Eyes”, where the punishment for disobedience is public hanging or banishment with the title of “Unwoman.” Even though the culture created by the narrator is a horrendous one, it is not one that I personally believe couldn’t exist. The themes in this story feel less “science-fiction” and more “non-fiction” at times considering some of the ideas and practices that go on in this novel actually take place in our time.