Sure to spark interesting, deep and wide-ranging discussions.

Summary:

Offred is a Handmaid in the religious Republic of Gilead. Gilead used to be America but now it is something drastically different. It is now a totalitarian society where women can no longer own property, accumulate knowledge, and are forbidden from reading. In fact, all the stores where Offred shops use pictures on their signs instead of words. The population is declining, and newborns are of incredible importance to society. In Gilead, women have the sole purposes of creating children and being a servant, i.e., a Handmaid. Offred's vital duty is to create children for Commander and his wife Serena. Things didn’t use to be this way. Offred remembers a time where she used to have a job, money, knowledge and a family of her own. That was a time where women were free to live life on their terms, but now everything has changed. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
The Handmaid’s Tale is an incredibly fascinating story, albeit a bit horrifying. Atwood creates a nightmarish dystopian world that I couldn't begin to fathom, and that was captivating. Her subtle yet powerful writing incorporates aspects of today's society and weaves a disturbing and convincing tale of what could happen in the future. The book can be a catalyst for deep discussions over religion, feminism, government, and so much more. I could not ignore The Handmaid’s Tale cruel totalitarian society. I could not bring myself to put this book down, being caught up in Offred’s life and struggles.

Some readers may be uncomfortable or dislike the amount of violence and sex in the book. It is for readers 16 and older. I recommend it as a great gift for feminists, as the story can spark great discussions. 


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who like stories that provoke strong feelings and make you think will enjoy reading this dystopian ficton story.

Content Awareness Factors:

Readers need to know that there is a lot of violence and sex in the story, some of which can be very graphic. That, combined with foul language, may cause offense to some readers. Although it has a middle-school reading level, this is a book with mature themes for high school students, young adults, and adults. 


Type of Book:
This is a dystopian science fiction novel that raises issues of gender identity and societal ethics.
Educational Themes:

This is a story sure to provoke discussions among readers. Themes of religion, human rights, feminism, and governmental methods (spying) are just the beginning. Ethics, social mores, and hypocrisy (were the actions truly religious or in the name of religion) take conversations to the next level.

Reading Level:
5.4
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, but only if you like heavy or dark dystopian fiction.
book cover

Title The Handmaid's Tale
Author Margaret Atwood
Publisher Anchor Books, Imprint Knopf Doubleday © 1998
ISBN 9780385490818
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.95
Genres History, Science Fiction, Social Issues
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