There is a LOT of hype around this book, especially given it was fairly recently turned into a TV series, and so many people have said how much they love it, but for me, it was so-so. I didn’t hate it by any stretch of the imagination, but several times I found my attention wandering, I found some of the word play a little too much, and I didn’t really like the ending. Having said that, the setting was extremely intriguing, and that kept me turning the pages.
The Handmaid’s Tale is set at some point a little in the future. America has been taken over by new leadership, and women are subjugated, treated as property, and not even allowed to read. The Handmaids occupy a specific role in society, which is of great importance, but their station has no clout whatsoever, and as such, they have no freedom at all. They’re supervised the majority of the time and there are very specific parameters in which their conduct must remain. The price for overstepping is severe, and could very easily end up in death.
I liked elements of the story; the way things were revealed drip by drip, I wanted to know more about the world, and the sordid undertones and hypocritical nature of the elite were entertaining. But there was also a lot that I found disappointing. I wanted to see the end of her story, but it ended abruptly, jarringly, and so much about the world was left out (that the narrator would have known). The ending was great in concept, and it was an unexpected twist, but I wish the content had been juicer. Instead, when I realised I wasn’t going to get any of the resolution I was after, I found myself looking repeatedly at how much time I had left to the end…
Some of the writing I really enjoyed, other bits were too literary for me. I know a lot of people adore ‘beautiful’ writing, but I’m more of a ‘let’s get to the point’ kind of girl. I ended up scanning through the descriptions to get to the action. Equally, I’m not convinced that if someone was giving an account of their personal history, especially given the circumstances in the book, that they would be quite so poetic…but maybe that’s just me.
All in all, it was an interesting read, and I’m glad I know what everyone’s talking about, but ultimately, it’s not really my kind of thing, and the lack of resolution was really annoying, hence it only gets 3 stars from me. What did you think? Let me know in the comments!