I can't even describe how bizarre this book was. It just emphasized my respect and awe at an author's ability to be so creative. I was a not disappointed in the ending for selfish reasons. You always want things tied up neatly. I would recommend this book.
I am not a regular reader of science fiction so I am not a seasoned critic of the genre. But I like intelligent and suspenseful stories and this is certainly one of them. I think it belongs in the same class as 1984,though this story is a little less dark and less despairing. Atwood is a poet and her prose shows it;it's very easy on the ear. Danes renders the prose like the professional actress she is. I am currently considering another Atwood novel. That should tell you how I feel about this book.
Good for folks who like futuristic stuff.
Added an adventurous escape.
Kept waiting for it. Totals waste of time and money.
None- would've added more about her escape and finding her daughter.
I was hoping for something more uplifting, but it never came. It was depression upon depression. I'm sure that was her goal, but it simply didn't work for me.
It's a classic story, very well written, about a bleak future so plausible it gives you goosebumps. A first person lucid and emotional depiction of a woman's years as a sex slave in a society that gathers all the political historical evils - religious fundamentalism, Nazism, autocracy, collectivism, Inquisition, Holocaust, forced indoctrination, and much more. A book that had to wait 30 years for its encounter with Claire Danes, who makes it one of the best stories ever told. Her voice, vulnerable, yet strong and precise, ample and equal like a big river caries you in this long journey that is a hymn to freedom and resilience in front of the hardest adversity - that when the entire society turns against the individual.
On a smaller scale, for me it was the best experience with an Audible book, or any other audio book (of which I listened to about 100+).
Claire Danes does a fantastic job in reading this book. She's in turns hysterical, majestic, terrified, determined, etc., and completely convincing at all of them. She doesn't try to masculinize the male characters' voices, but it isn't needed.
The book itself is a mixed bag. It's a horrible vision of a world gone crazy and as such gets to be a little disturbing after a while. There is no plot for the first quarter of the book, but then it starts to get going. The epilogue salvaged this from a 2 to a 3-star, and it's absolutely brilliant plus it makes some sense out of the preceding narrative. The writing is jerky, never eloquent, mostly pedestrian; there are few linguistic flourishes to lighten the mood, but perhaps that was a deliberate tactic. But the book does raise some important issues about not taking our liberties for granted.
This book is a study in relationships, power, and sexuality in a dystopian society. The setting is the near future where man has polluted the planet so much that fertility rates are extremely low. Young women are forced into subservient domestic roles to keep the society from dying off. I found it thought provoking because the female protagonist has to negotiate the reality of a society that has backslid form the progress of twentieth century feminism. She has to make decisions to balance her short term and long term sanity very similar to women today but with a little more constraints and drama.
The narration and story were great. The story got only 4 stars because the ending was somewhat anti-climatic but acceptable for a parable type story.
I'm a serial audible reader. Since I walk 20 miles a week, I listen 20 miles a week! It's great to be able to listen to so many books :)
Baffling and sobering
The summaries at the end made it all come into focus for me. I didn't really understand what was going on until I heard the scientific descriptions after the fact in the epilogue. The sobering part was realizing that all the handmaid went through was really just a few years of a "regime" that was short lived in the scheme of things.
I take things too literal, as I see so much of this happening in today's politics. When will this sort of thing begin in our world? or has it already started?
The main character. I loved her insights and the things she resisted remembering. Like she never ever mentions or remembers her daughter's name.
Like I said before, the epilogue was the most poignant. To see history through hindsight is very thought provoking.