I love dystopian novels. I love the well written ones (like 1984 & A Brave New World) and the poorly written ones as well (ahem, Divergent). I freak for the somewhere in between ones like The Hunger Games. When I pick a dystopian novel off the shelf I literally CANNOT put it down. I remember staying up until 3:00am finishing the first Hunger Games book even though I had an exam the next day. I’ve read and reread 1984 more times than I can count and recently I added a noteworthy read to my list of favorites.
Let me just say it now, if you’re a living, breathing human being you NEED to read The Handmaid’s Tale. The past year I’ve really focused on reading important works of fiction in the realm of women’s literature. I believe The Handmaid’s Tale belongs at the top of the list when it comes to impactful satire on feminism. The novel depicts a world in which women are subjugated due to religion and forced to live lives based on specified wifely duties. The story bounces back and forth between the main character Offred’s current role as a breeder (essentially) and her former life before the totalitarian regime took over. It’s encapsulating to read her account of life as it transitioned from that of a normal working mother who loved her husband and indulged in cigarettes to living in a society where she is not allowed to read, count or even walk to the market by herself. The story is riveting but more importantly the writing is beautiful. I love following Offred’s train of thought (aka Margaret Atwood’s writing), it’s difficult to describe but each description is so unique and beautiful, I could get lost in the writing alone even if the story was lacking (which it isn’t). I can’t stress enough how impactful I found this piece. Though I find all dystopian novels leave me a little uneasy (corrupt governments are scary) I found this work especially haunting. For those who say feminism isn’t necessary in today’s society I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale. Of course Atwood’s story is fiction but warns of a fall into a patriarchal society that is hardly far fetched. I finished the book last week but the message has been floating around my mind ever since.
I normally hate book reviews (I’d rather just read the blurb on the back while browsing through the bookstore) but I had to make this quick recommendation. Please add The Handmaid’s Tale to your list of must reads if you haven’t read it already. It’s one of my new favorites!
Do you have any dystopian recommendations you think I have missed out on? What is your favorite genre of book? And if you have read The Handmaid’s Tale what did you think? Let’s discuss pretty please!