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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: Very 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" ( New York Times ). Now an award-winning Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss. Look for The Testaments , the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale , available now. In Margaret Atwood's dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise...

Customer Reviews

18 ratings

Book I was sent was not in good condition.

I purchased a book in “very good condition” and was sent a book that was not only not the cover I purchased, but it was ripped, scribbled on a bent…

Good book, but not so good condition

I just received book, & started reading. So far so good as far as the story. But. . . After seeing that this book was rated as "good" condition with "Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include "From the library of" labels or previous owner inscriptions", this book had notes on every single page. Copious notes, copious underling & circling of words. Stick-it notes. You name it. I think previous owner wrote more than author in this book. Come on! I got this particular one due to good price & expecting limited owner additions to it, but seriously??? Grateful it was in pencil, because if it were in ink it would have obliterated the words with all the markings.

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.

Seller provided misleading description, described as "good condition", however arrived in very poor

Misleading description of the book condition. The seller listed this book as "good condition". The book is filthy- dirt and coffee-stained throughout, with rippled, water-damaged pages. The front and back covers and pages within have deep folds and tears throughout.

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!

Good but Hard Read

This was a really hard book to read. I experienced so many emotions while reading it. As a woman, it was terrifying. It made me ask a hard question. What would you do to stay alive?

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!


I'll spare you the details, let me just say that this book is an absolute must-read! It is jarring and gut-wrenching and downright scary most the time. Margaret Atwood's ability to world-build and "relate" and relay information to the reader is absolutely astounding!

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..

A haunting view of a possible future

I read this book my freshman year in college for an English class that focused on dystopian literature. This book is a haunting and frightening view of what the future may become. This book drew me in from the beginning. Pure good literature.

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 Happy Birthday to the Marvelous Margaret Atwood
Happy Birthday to the Marvelous Margaret Atwood
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 18, 2020

Margaret Atwood is 81 years old today! The renowned Canadian author has been publishing poetry, novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and more since 1961, but her star just keeps on rising. Known largely for books like The Handmaid’s Tale, you may be surprised to learn that speculative fiction actually represents a small fraction of the versatile author’s work.

The Handmaid's Tale in Celebrating Banned Books During Banned Books Week
Celebrating Banned Books During Banned Books Week
Published by Karen DeGroot Carter • September 27, 2020

Since its launch in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped raise awareness of the many literary works that have been banned and/or challenged by individuals and groups across the U.S. through the years. To start the week off, let's take a look at some of the most frequently-challeneged or removed books from the last 20 years.

The Handmaid's Tale in A New Normal: 5 Books Depicting a Changed World
A New Normal: 5 Books Depicting a Changed World
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 08, 2020

These are unprecedented times! On a global scale, we are working to adjust to a new normal. We are finding it somewhat soothing to read about people engaged in a similar process. Here are five great titles we've found to scratch that itch.

The Handmaid's Tale in 5 Dystopian Novels That Reinforce the Importance of Earth Day
5 Dystopian Novels That Reinforce the Importance of Earth Day
Published by Emma Zaratian • April 22, 2019

Because we're gluttons for punishment, we thought we'd revisit five notable (and very different) dystopian novels that explore themes of environmental disaster. Just to pique our survivalist instincts this Earth Day.

The Handmaid's Tale in 6 Famous Authors Who Might Surprise You with Their Poetry
6 Famous Authors Who Might Surprise You with Their Poetry
Published by Emma Zaratian • April 08, 2019

April is National Poetry Month, which means itls the ideal time to treat yourself to a new book of verses. But how to choose a collection you'll like? While itls common knowledge that Sylvia Plath could pen a novel just as well as a poem, we often overlook the fact that plenty novelists have also dabbled in the arts of meter and metaphor. Maybe your favorite author has waxed poetic and you just don't know it yet. Here are a few popular writers wholve skillfully pivoted between prose and poetry.

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