Challenge criteria: A book that was once banned.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.
She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
What I liked:
This book was written in 1985 and it’s still so very relevant. Offred’s world is absolutely terrifying, and there were times I sat back and could barely imagine what it would be like if such a coup occurred in Ireland.
When I say “I couldn’t put this book down”, I’m not exaggerating. It was completely enthralling, and I stayed up hours longer than I should have finishing it off.
The ambiguous ending is a little annoying, but it does add to the book and fit in quite perfectly with its story. No one else knows what happened, why should we?
What I didn’t like:
The lack of quotation marks did make this a little difficult to read at times, and it did take a few moments to decipher which was spoken word and which was narrative text.
Out of five:
Four. Aside from the odd quotations, this was one thrilling – but terrifying – read.