Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

I’m sure the first question you’re going to have is “is it like the show?” In short: yes. The show follows Atwood’s 1985 novel very closely, but I have to say that this is one of the few books I’ve read that I can say I prefer the TV show version of. (The other example that comes to mind easily is my preference for True Blood over any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.)

Atwood is arguably one of the best (science fiction) writers, and while her prose is incredible and worth studying, I just wasn’t nearly as engaged in this book as I’d hoped to have been. I could feel Offred’s anger and her frustration, but I felt like I was left as frustrated and without answers as she was.

I did appreciate the anti-feminist dystopia that Atwood created, and I felt like parts of the book would be worth exploring with my students, but on the whole I feel like watching the Hulu series is a more worthwhile venture.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale”

  1. I haven’t watched the show but I read the book ages ago. I found it like most of Atwood’s work – admirable but somehow not totally engaging. I’m not sure why because she’s an excellent writer and chooses some interesting themes. I’ve read quite a lot of her stuff but nothing I’d re-read. For some reason she doesn’t develop empathy with her main characters – in this reader, anyway. And yet they’re well developed and described.

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  2. show offred and book offred are different enough that i think for those of us ready to take up arms against the patriarchy, show offred is much more appealing. i love the book but read it before i saw the show.

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