My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A feminist, dystopian literary novel would be the simplest way to describe this book. But, in actuality, there is nothing simple about this book. The unraveling layers that unfold with each page diving into dynamics of our country’s societal evolution, our conceptions and misconceptions on love and devotion, the cause and affects of desperation on individuals vs a group. There are so many aspects of human nature that I’m left to ponder.
Though the book is fiction, the story is presented in a plausible light. However, one of the hardest pills for me to swallow is how the narrator describes people falling into the new regime of authority so quickly. Like a fertility farm, women are distributed to households according to their ability to bare children. Love is not considered a necessary means in this society. And, unmarried or divorced women are ripped from their children.
Though there are so many facets to this novel to discuss, the question that screams in my head – how can there be such a lack of love? If there is no love in procreating this barren society, then what is the point of living? If mothers’ children are stripped from their arms, how can these women breathe another breath with that kind of heartache? In her afterword, Atwood points out how unlikely, yet possible, an overtaking like this could happen even in a country like the United States. Similar hostile takeovers have occurred to other countries in history. Acknowledging that there is the possibility of that kind of hate to drive such a force is a scary enough thought to turn this literary novel into a thriller.