Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Special Edition

Margaret Atwood


Publisher: Audible Audio
Publication date: 4-Apr-2017
originally published in 1985
Date Started: 20-Mar-2018
Date Finished: 16-May-2018
Format: audiobook
Narrator: Claire Danes
Pages: 311
Genres: Classics, Science Fiction, Dystopian
ISBN: 9780385490818
Source: Audible


“Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”



So while based on my start and end dates of this book it seems like it took me about two months to finish, I really read/listened to 90% of the book within the past two days. As in I had started it a long while back and did not get any further until recently. This is a book that one really needs to digest and sleep on until it can be discussed. Although that seems to be a thing with dystopian societies as we draw parallels with our current world.

It took me until the last chapter to realize this story was a memoir of sorts, and that makes it even more fitting. While I am not sure how this society of Gilead came to be, I do know that it is a patriarchal one that would be awful for all women to live within, no matter their status.

The audiobook is narrated by Claire Danes and she did an excellent job. I was engrossed into the story so much that I listened to it for 5 hours straight. I definitely recommend this book to those who are interested in dystopian societies like Divergent, the Hunger Games, 1984, and Delirium.

About the Author

“Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid’s Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood’s dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers’ Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.”


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