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Paperback The Handmaid's Tale Book

ISBN: 038549081X

ISBN13: 9780385490818

The Handmaid's Tale

(Book #1 in the The Handmaid’s Tale Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - An instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from "the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction" (The New York Times). Now an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss.

Look for The Testaments, the bestselling, award-winning the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale

In Margaret Atwood's dystopian future, environmental disasters...

Customer Reviews

21 ratings

Beautifully written

This was my first Margaret Atwood novel, and I have no complaints. The book is beautifully written, poetic at times. Very happy to have read this and have it as a part of my collection. Highly recommended this one.

Creepily close to modern

This book was a little hard to read at the start as it's written in a sort of flashback type of way. Once I figured out how to read and understand the transitions into those parts, it was amazing. It's eerily creepy to some of the conversations and actions I've heard people talking about doing in recent years. Margaret has done a wonderful job with the descriptions of rooms, objects and feelings, putting right in the situations with the characters. I finished it March 7th, it's now March 18th and both my mother and sister have read and finished it. It's hard to put it down.

Not hard back

First time this has happened that the book was not hard back and cover was torn

Terrifying and excellent read! As a woman…

Coming to the USA near you! Someone in Europe, please adopt me….

A great gift!

I gifted this to my mama and she loved it. I'm glad she enjoys getting a gift like this.


This was an awful book. I think the story could have been good but the writing was awful. One paragraph she was in the present and the next she was remeithe past but it was hard to follow. I found myself having to go back quite a bit to figure out what was going on. Could have been written better and then the story would have been better.

Goodwill sticker

This cover had a 2.99 goodwill sticker on it. Just peel the sticker off before sending it??

Poorly written

The ply is overly simplistic. Questions abound as to how a whole society can wipe out 50 % of its workforce, women, and fiscally survive, how any society can deny women to young males and survive and…. I do not know how this became so popular.

Good book

Good book, shipping was fast.

What took me so long?

I know this book has been around for a long time. So has the movie. And I really like Margaret Atwood, but for some reason I kept thinking I'd already read this. But I ordered it and realized I hadn't read it before. It deserves all the accolades that it got (gets). Future women are categorized by their ability to reproduce; and the government tells them when and with who. Very 1984, and the lead character is sharp and intensely unhappy with the system and all of the "secrets" that get passed around. Very well written book; I read it in one sitting, which always indicates that the book flows naturally to a great climax.

Handmaid's Tale could easily be a sequel to Orwell's 1984

Very unconventional ending

Awesome Read

I'm really enjoying this book. It's chilling and well-written, and led to me watching the HULU series. I'm not quite finished, but I'm hooked from what I've already read. I definitely recommend giving it a shot.

Haunting, chilling & brilliant!

If you want to freak yourself with the possibility of what COULD happen in the near future then this book is for you! I was terrified reading about the fictional, totalitarian, quasi Christian state of Gilead. I had already watched all three seasons of the Hulu show but it's NOTHING compared to the actual book. It's very descriptive, painting a vivid image of the main character Offred and how her life operates in Gilead with flashbacks to the time before. Births are declining and it is up to Handmaidens to reproduce for the Commanders and their wives. The women in this dystopian novel can't read, write or be free to do the things we do today. It's a chilling read that makes me question events going on in the world today. Don't hesitate! Read this book and experience the brilliance of Margaret Antwood!

The Handmaids Tale

I had been hearing such good things about this book but I really wasnt into it at all. I didnt like the ending and really had to force myself to finish it. For the first time ever I think I must say I like the TV series better than the book!

Great Read

I read this book on vacation and could not put it down! Margaret Atwood’s Storytelling is gripping and makes you feel Very close to Offred. I recommend this to anyone before watching the TV show!

Truly Great!

Yes, it's a sad story, but It's a truly great book! The writing is remarkable, the plot is nothing less than astounding! I am shocked by the thoughtless reviews it's gotten! I mean folks this is great literature! It doesn't get any better!

Never want to experience this way of living...

I read this with mixed reaction as I found it hard to follow the characters . I certainly wouldn't want to live in this lifetime where people are put into segregated groups..those with privileges and those without..Big brother always knowing where you separations ...being forced into intimacy for procreation only...I don't know if I will read the next novel by this author..

What in God's name kind of ending was that?!

It had me from page 1...I kept thinking some sort of prince would come in and rescue her from her mundane existence or some sort of pretty ending would finish this dark dystopian novel but that was definitely not the case. I am excited to watch the series on Hulu though! Glad I read it....just wish it would have ended a little differently.

A Great Read

The Handmaid's Tale is the story of Offred, one of the few fertile women left in the Republic of Gilead, a dystopia at its worst. Toxic waste has left population levels dangerously low and religious leaders have taken control of the country, using desperate measures to repopulate the Earth. Offred is one of the many "handmaids" who are forced to live with a commander and trys to conceive a child with him once a month. The book chronicles Offred's life as she is living with Commander Fred (hence "Of Fred"). Atwood wrote this novel at a time when there was the possibility of religious leaders establishing a theocracy. She portrays the havoc that can come about when a democracy loses its control over the people. Atwood does this extremely effectively. Since the whole book is through Offred's eyes, the one-person limited view point makes you use your imagination to fill in the gaps left by her lack of knowledge. The book isn't so extreme that it's unbelievable and is so descriptively written that it almost feels as if it the events already happened in history. It was truly a great read.

Plain good literature

I have read "The Handmaid's Tale" a number of times, both in English original and in Croatian translation (a pretty good one). First time I read it, it was because I have found it in a library of a Women's Study Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, so I expected it to be "feminist literature", and was therefore a bit cautious about it, thinking it would be some kind of pamphlet for women's liberation. Of course, I did not know anything about Margaret Atwood back then. First thing this book taught me is that M. Atwood is, above all, a great author, and that "The Handmaid's Tale" is a piece of plain good literature.The somewhat circular narrative centres around and is being told from the perspective of Offred, a woman living in Republic of Gilead, the dystopian, future theocracy established on the teritory of today's United States of America. Gilead's government is organized by a group of very specific religious fanatics, basing their theology on a couple of chapters from the Old Testament, specifically the story about Sarah, Abraham's wife, who could not bear children, and therefore had given Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, to concieve children with her. Also written in that chapter is God's command to Hagar to completely submit to her mistress, and Abraham's observation that Sarah is to do whatever she pleases with her handmaid.That is the point from which the treatment of handmaids is derived in the Republic of Gilead. As the increasingly polluted land caused infertility withing majority of women, the fertile ones, especially those who have been either married to divorced men (theocracy of Gilead does not recognize divorce), or single, but not virgins, are taken as "handmaids" to be awarded to high ranking families without children. Offred has been given to the family of The Commander, one of the highest ranking officials of Gilead, married to Serena Joy, a bitter and slightly desillusioned fanatic. Her narrative focuses on describing daily routines in their household, her experiences and her memories of a past, normal life, with a husband and a daughter. Apart from political description of Gilead's ideology (which is given masterfully, without unneccessary and boring descriptions, yet with frightening details), the main value of this book lies in Offred's introspection. She is a person completely determined by her biological function as a woman and a child-bearer, completely deprived of any other individual merrits or rights. The way Offred deals with that is beautifully portrayed; sometimes in a flow that resembles free-association ("It's strange now, to think about having a job. Job. It's a funny word. It's a job for a man. Do a jobbie, they'd say to children, when they were being toilet-trained. Or of dogs: he did a job on the carpet...The Book of Job."), sometimes completely ripped-off of any emotions, yet almost physically hurtful with recognition and fear of it possibly coming true. Granted, Margaret Atwood did write about a woman deprived of her rig

Atwood's Masterpiece

"I wish this story were different. I wish it were more civilized. I wish it showed me in a better light, if not happiness, then at least more active." So says master writer Margaret Atwood regarding her tour de force, The Handmaid's Tale. Set in the present-day Massachusetts of the future, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is the chilling portrayal of a totalitarian society as told through the eyes of a Handmaid named Offred. Offred, who can remember the time when she had a home, a husband and a daughter, now serves as a "birth vessel" and is valued only for her powers of reproduction.Offred (her name was derived from "of" and the name of her own Commander, "Fred") is forced to live her life in a new dictatorship called the Republic of Gilead. Offred is allowed to leave her Commander's home only once each day; her freedom, like that of other ordinary civilians, has been stripped from her and she exists at the mercy of the heads of state who are known as the Commanders.The Republic of Gilead, however, is a society in the midst of crisis. Its land and atmosphere have been polluted by nuclear waste and all but a handful of the population has been rendered barren. Those infertile women, women who will never, or never again, reproduce, are known as "Unwomen," and are sent to the Colonies where they must toil as laborers with no privileges, working to clean up the nuclear waste. The only exceptions are the infertile Wives of the Commanders. Women lucky enough to still retain their fertility, like Offred, are considered a treasured "object" of society and one whose role is to bear children for the Wives of the Commanders who cannot. In the Republic of Gilead they have a saying, "There's no such thing as a sterile man...there are only women who are barren." Offred, though, knows that in this nuclear aftermath, sterile men do, indeed, exist, and so she prays for a baby; not a baby that she, herself, wants to love, but one that will keep her from the dreaded fate of the "Unwomen."Many of the events in The Handmaid's Tale are derived from the biblical story of Leah and Rachel and Atwood has chosen to use many biblical names throughout the book. There are Handmaids and Marthas, Angels and Guardians and many others.The Handmaid's Tale is written in Atwood's masterful prose but this is not a linear tale. Be prepared to drop back in time, then flash forward, then drop back again. The writing, though, flows effortlessly and Atwood, as always, manages to keep readers riveted to the page.Although many people might feel that The Handmaid's Tale is too futuristic to be plausible, many of the events depicted have happened or are happening somewhere in the world at this very moment. It doesn't take more than a few minutes to recall places where gender discrimination and human rights have all but been stripped away. Atwood, herself, said, "One of the things I avoided doing was describing anything in the novel that didn't happen in this world."Chill

The Handmaid's Tale Mentions in Our Blog

The Handmaid's Tale in 21 Winning Classics Written By Women
21 Winning Classics Written By Women
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 10, 2024

As long as there have been books, there have been women writers, but until the last few centuries, their voices were marginalized, discounted, and even silenced. Finally, this is changing. In celebration of Women's History Month, here are 21 time-honored classics by women who broke new ground and earned their spot in literary history.

The Handmaid's Tale in Treat Yourself!
Treat Yourself!
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 19, 2023

From stress release to entertainment to cognitive development, there are so many benefits to reading. So treat yourself! Here are ten good reasons to buy yourself some books this holiday season.

The Handmaid's Tale in 14 of the Best Sci-Fi Titles
14 of the Best Sci-Fi Titles
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 25, 2023

Do you love immersing yourself in futuristic, boundary-pushing worlds? If you're always looking for your next sci-fi read, here are fourteen excellent, mind-bending novels that may not have come across your radar yet.

The Handmaid's Tale in Ultimate Summer Reading List: Thrillers Edition
Ultimate Summer Reading List: Thrillers Edition
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 01, 2023

It's June! Time to get your summer reading list in order. No matter which genres you prefer, Thriftbooks has got you covered. Over the next few weeks, we'll be putting together a few roundups to help you fill out your summer TBR list. Here are our picks for the best thrillers to throw in your beach bag.

The Handmaid's Tale in The New York Times Book Review Celebrates Their Anniversary with a Vote
The New York Times Book Review Celebrates Their Anniversary with a Vote
Published by Amanda Cleveland • January 04, 2022

The New York Times Book Review turned 125 years old. To celebrate their momentous anniversary and their dedicated readership, they asked their readers to nominate the best books of the past 125 years. They took thousands of nominations down to 25 finalists, then that finalist down to one winner.

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