Review by: Sang Lee
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood portrays a world that I simply cannot tolerate and even begin to understand its fundamentals of. The Republic of Gilead, which is the main setting of the novel, is a country of social issues heavily pertaining to women due to its harsh treatment of females in general. Furthermore, the characterization of a few characters including the most important character, Offred was also the weakest part of the novel that contributed to my clear dislike of this book. Although the book does contain some parts that allowed it to be on the 1000 Novels list, I do not and will not recommend this book to anyone.
The very fact that something as terrible and ridiculous as Handmaids exist in this novel should be abhorred upon. In this country of Gilead where Handmaids are assigned to a Commander with a sole purpose of bearing children, are only seen as “two legged wombs” (Atwood 136). Furthermore, acting conceited about being “vastly pregnant” (Atwood 26) with the Commander’s child and showing it around “to enjoy every moment of” (Atwood 26) public attention is absolutely loathsome.
However, the main character endures through this process with complacency only showing a little bit of grief and discontent during her moments of her flashbacks. As the one of the professional review says, the main character shows qualities of a tamed individual that she herself admits how it is “truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations” (Atwood 271). This non-heroic quality in the protagonist only makes the character look bland in the midst of this them of using women’s bodies as political instruments that calls for a hero type character. A main character that does not show any strong qualities to express her will is not very attractive in any way.
The main plot of the novel and the characterization of Offred that seems unfitting and boorish contribute to my disliking of this novel. Due to its much implied and described sexuality and brutal language I assign this book with three stars and Restricted for its rating. Therefore, it is clear that I did not enjoy reading this book and would not recommend this novel to anyone.