As you know, basically we are all living in a dystopian nightmare recently (if you had any question which way our political leanings go), so The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was the perfect choice for February. If you don’t know much about it, it follows the story of Offred, a Handmaid assigned to an Commander with the job of producing a child for the Commander and his wife within two years. After that she will be assigned to another house, or sent away if she passes child bearing years. Pretty scary right? Because while reading this, it totally felt like it could be very real with the current administration.
This book is a favorite among feminists and book lovers alike, so it felt like there were a lot of expectations attached. I was trying to be cautious going in, and honestly, I ended up loving it. The expectations were high for a reason, and I am starting to think this should be required reading. Here are a few reasons you need to add this to your reading list ASAP.
Ok so I touched on this briefly above, but this story felt like one that could become all too real. The government is wiped out (blamed on Islamic extremists of course) and within weeks women can’t work and their bank accounts cannot be accessed without the permission of a husband. The borders get shut down scary quick and before you know it, women who can bear children become Handmaids, assigned to different houses for a few years with monthly meetings to try and procreate. Reading this was accompanied with a feeling of dread, since it felt like we could possibly come to a point where women are no more than property and used for reproduction.
There are very real people in our current government (and even closer to home, in our jobs and towns and maybe even families) who feel like women can’t be trusted to make their own choices in regards to their bodies. Family planning is something they feel like needs to be regulated or harder to get. Right now there are people who want to defund Planned Parenthood, a place the provides affordable healthcare for women across the country. Not only just access to healthcare, but women also face more pressure as mothers than fathers do. Pressure to return to work quickly, and non stop judgement on every single parenting decision you make, from staying home vs. working, to bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding, to being a single mom vs. parenting with your partner. We have more responsibility thrust on us and more judgement than men, but our rights are still being infringed on.
While this might feel like it devolved into a mini rant on women’s rights, I promise you The Handmaid’s Tale echoes all of these things, in an eloquent and compelling way, that still feels relevant today despite being publishing in 1986. You are only doing yourself a favor by grabbing this book immediately.
Luckily, when I ordered my copy on Amazon, they sent me two so I’m giving one away to one of you! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and you are entered to win my extra copy! Giveaway ends on March 13th, open to both US and International entries.
Happy reading friends!