Flashback Friday: The Handmaid’s Tale

Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight. If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My picks for this week’s Flashback Friday:

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

(published 1985)

From Goodreads:

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…

Back before “dystopian” was a fiction genre (as in the enthusiastic exclamation I came across recently: “I ♥ dystopians!!”), Margaret Atwood wrote this chilling look at a remade United States, in which religion is now law and women are subjugated into the Biblical roles that the men in charge deem appropriate. With no monetary, legal, or political power, Offred is stripped of everything she once had, including a name of her own, and forced into servitude as a vessel for producing offspring.

The Handmaid’s Tale is an unforgettable look at life in a totalitarian society, in which individual rights no longer exist — including the right to one’s own body and one’s own family. It’s a frightening cautionary tale as well as a powerful piece of speculative fiction, written in Margaret Atwood’s always spectacular literary voice.

My Wishlist Wednesday book this week was the author’s upcoming book, MaddAddam, due out in September of this year. Margaret Atwood’s fiction is always different, always beautifully written, and always powerful. What are your favorite Atwood novels? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join the Flashback Friday fun, write a blog post about a book you love (please mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the Flashback Friday host!) and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Handmaid’s Tale

  1. You know, I still haven’t gotten around to reading this book! I’ve been meaning to for years (especially as I went through some of the classic dystopian novels a while back)…and as a Canadian I feel a little *blushes* that I haven’t read any of Margaret Atwood’s books, lol. I hope to get around to them soon, I’ve been recommended some great titles written by her 🙂

    My Friday Book Memes

    • There are so many to choose from — you really can’t go wrong! The Handmaid’s Tale may not feel so startling now, given how many dystopian-themed novels are popular, but at the time, it was pretty shocking. Terrific book. (Oryx & Crake too). Thanks for stopping by and sharing your link!

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