• Megan-Rose Davies

The Handmaids Tale - A Book Review

Updated: May 3, 2018

Once I finished A Handmaid’s Tale, I felt a serious lack of accomplishment. Yes, I had finished, but I didn’t win anything. Most stories you’re rewarded with a happy ending; a conclusion to the events that have built up to this finale. But there was no conclusion. It took me over half the book to become interested in the character’s life, and just as the drama was beginning it went ahead and ended. It’s as if Atwood purposefully left it unfinished, so the reader could create their own ending.

The writing style was bleak, unimaginative, bland, and slow. But as I continued to read, I realised that this wasn’t due to a bored writer: what Atwood was doing was incredibly clever. The writing style reflected the mood and mental state of Offred, the eponymous ‘handmaid’. The reason it took me half a book to start getting interested was because that’s when events started happening around Offred: she woke up.

The depression within the writing is overpowering. At first glance the blandness that Atwood writes with could be criticised, but she has cleverly structured it so that the basic language is clearly an effect of Offred’s depression, oppression and disassociation from her own experiences.

Atwood, M., 1985. The Handmaid's Tale. 1st ed. Canada: McClelland and Stewart

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