Submitted by Singto_ t3_zo996o in books

I have just finished the entire book today. I had my expectations high from what I heard about the book and am now quite disappointed with what I got.

(Spoilers for the book below)

In truth, I could barely get through the book. I feel that the first half of the book was just full of nothing. It was just describing random things, bits of backstory, but really nothing at all. I felt the first 150 pages could easily be shrunk down to 50 pages at least. The part with the commander initially was pretty interesting, it also didn't go any where.

And what was the part at the end with Nick? That could have easily been done better. It lasted a whole few chapters until the novel just abruptly ends.

I think the concept of the book is very good. It's just that the way it's written and the pacing is quite poor. Part of it has got to do with us being stuck with only Offred's perspective. If the author had explored more about the world instead of day to day chores then that would have made the book way more interesting. I get that part of the reason for that was to show how boring her life is and how oppressed she is, but I think we can understand that from just a few chapters.

Tldr; the book is way too long with so little substance imo.



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[deleted] t1_j0ljxh0 wrote

It sounds like you were expecting a thriller or something full of action and turnabouts etc. The monotony of being stuck with Offred's thoughts as she goes about the daily life forced on her is pretty much an essential point of this wonderful novel. I see what you mean but it felt to me like you were expecting this novel to be something it isn't is all. I found it extremely substantial and gifted in doing exactly what you didn't like :).


Singto_ OP t1_j0llwea wrote

That could very well be it. What do you like about it?


WholeBeautiful4194 t1_j0n49jw wrote

world building, terrifying atmosphere, and the emotional turmoil of the setting boiled down to an offputting monotony from offred.


[deleted] t1_j0llvil wrote

I think it's a dazzling book. Poetic, wrenching, a must read.

If it wasn't your thing there's definitely another book out there that you'll love.

One of the joys of reading for me is the endless quest for stories that move me. Good luck on your quest.


By_your_command t1_j0o1nuq wrote

There’s a beautiful bit where June (Offred) is talking about how she’s smuggled some butter to use as skin lotion that turns into a rather beautiful extended meditation on longing. It’s very sensual (in a puts you in the characters physical and emotional point of view) I found it very moving.


TheChocolateMelted t1_j0lkw84 wrote

In no way do I mean to be rude or offensive or to blame you, but from what you've written, the book just isn't for you. And that's fine. This isn't to suggest you're stupid or don't get the book, just that, as you said, it doesn't work for you. It happens.

To properly answer your question: It may appear poorly written to you, but it didn't meet your needs or your expectations. But this doesn't make it poorly written for other readers. Other readers have loved it, as you've acknowledged. And it's quite possible that their enjoyment and ranking of the book, as well as the general reputation, gave you expectations too high to ever be met. As for the pacing? Expectations nearly forty years ago are different to current ones. Perfectly understandable if it now appears slow to you. It happens.

Hope you do find something that works for you.


greengerm t1_j0nagko wrote

So why downvote the post 💀


NocturnOmega t1_j0ppxfa wrote

I got you. I find simply asking questions on Reddit get you downvotes sometimes. It’s really annoying. I rarely ever downvote posts. I mean if someone’s being exceptionally awful or snotty, I might feel obliged, but simply disagreeing with someone doesn’t merit the negative action in my book.


carmelfan t1_j0ln5w5 wrote

It is BRILLIANTLY written. The sense of desolation begins right away, and stays with you. I think this book just isn't the type for you, and there's nothing wrong with that.


whipfinish t1_j0lk7d0 wrote

I seriously doubt it. Atwood is a very precise stylist, but she is also innovative. What makes you think it might be badly written?


Singto_ OP t1_j0lkdnr wrote

I explained my reasons in the text box. Do you see it?


UnderbellyZ t1_j0ls4g9 wrote

In both your post and your comments you are acting like calling a book “poorly written” is a subjective opinion. Which it is not. At all. I’ve loved books poorly written and hated those that weren’t but that doesn’t change how the words were arranged on the page. You might not have liked the story or the pacing but don’t confuse that with it being “written poorly”.

Moreover, calling anything Margaret Atwood writes as “poorly written” is an insult to the written word. She is a master wordsmith and I would argue she is a living legend who will be mentioned with the all time greats.

Don’t confuse your opinion on liking something to it value or worth.


carlea71 t1_j0ngod1 wrote

Thank you for stating this much better than I ever could.

I personally didn't like the book, but it was so beautifully written I couldn't put it down. I definitely would have DNF'd a lesser writer.


NocturnOmega t1_j0pqync wrote

Very nicely said. I loathe when people do this. You can dislike a book for what it is or isn’t, but attacking a writers ability, when the ability isn’t the issue is so juvenile.


[deleted] t1_j0m2p2s wrote

It's okay if you don't like the book. I've disliked plenty of popular books and liked some unpopular ones too. The great thing about books is that there is something for everyone.

I personally thought the writing was brilliant in Handmaid's Tale but I can't read it again because of how depressed it made me. It's not for everyone but like I said, that's okay.


boxer_dogs_dance t1_j0llybj wrote

a novel painting a picture of a miserable life works the same way a novel painting a picture of an unlikable character works. The misery is the point. Great art isn't only pleasant or fun. Try the Yellow Wallpaper for a short take on the same theme. Actual women live lives like this, just like there are actual migrant farm workers as well as migrant characters in Grapes of Wrath and Cider House Rules. What is your take on Holocaust or gulag survival stories?


Singto_ OP t1_j0lmyjt wrote

I definitely understand that. Just like how the other comments suggested maybe it's just not for me. I absolutely understand the misery of the character in the book, but after 30 or so pages it just becomes stale for me. If you put it that way then I could understand how lots of people loves it.

I'll check out Yellow Wallpaper. I'm new to reading in general so I have no takes on Holocaust or gulag survival stories hahaha, any recommendations?



boxer_dogs_dance t1_j0lny5x wrote

For short, clear and beautifully written, Elie Wiesel Night and then Dawn. Man's Search for Meaning is more philosophical if you want that. For a woman prisoner, Corrie ten Boom's book the Hiding Place.

The Gulag Archipelago is a brick of a book. I wouldn't start there. Animal Farm is supposed to represent Stalinism although it works for exploitation generally.


CurlyDee t1_j0mlplh wrote

I just have to encourage everyone to read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. That book and Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner are my guides to make sense of the world.


Jenniferinfl t1_j0m1ivt wrote

It's a brilliant work of fiction.

A lot of people confuse personal preference for being a fair critique of a work. Handmaid's Tale is great- you just happened not to like it.

I enjoyed reading Twilight. It doesn't make it a brilliant work of fiction. I disliked reading Moby Dick- Moby Dick is still pretty special even if it did nothing for me. I enjoyed Anna Karenina and it also happens to be a brilliant piece of fiction.

See what I mean? A great novel can still not be within the parameters of your personal preferences- but, that has little to do with the quality of the work. You loving a work can't make it great, you disliking a work similarly has no impact.


pfroggie t1_j0o1l0q wrote

See, I would like to learn more about what makes a book great vs what I like/dislike. This thread has been interesting, because from his description I think I would've had similar thoughts on the book, but the replies show me that it probably is quite good albeit from a perspective not everyone will understand. I don't want to be told what to like, but I want to expand my horizons and understand WHY great books are considered great.


No-Fig-3112 t1_j0pyy9d wrote

Have you taken English classes at a collegiate level? Not all of them, but some will cover what makes great writing great. The thing is is that what makes writing great can change.

In my experience, when someone says someone writes well, it's because they are taking as very complex idea and, using a narrative, are able to communicate that idea, on purpose, to a wide audience.

I can't use HT as a reference because I haven't read it, but I have read most of The Brothers Karamazov, and that is another example of "great" literature. In that case, while the story is quite simple ("father of three brothers is murdered, and everyone wants to know who did it" is the simplest summary I can think of) the ideas communicated in it about family, Russian society (at the time), even some ideas about what it means to be a man in a general sense (or at least not a failure of one) are all wrapped up in there. Not to mention the theological arguments Dostoyevsky talks about. That is a lot for one novel, even if it is several hundred pages. Taking all those potentially disparate philosophical arguments and combining them into one narrative is what makes the book great.

As I said though, what is considered great can change. I've also read some ancient Greek and Roman stories and they don't even have the basic idea of story structure we have today so no matter how great they were for their time, they sound awful to me. Like the Odyssey. It has some cool parts, but to me it's just a disjointed mess of all the crap that happens to this dude for no particular reason. Which probably sounded a lot better when that's how stories were written, to be more like how life happens to people. Gods apparently loved picking a punching bag back then.

Point is: what is great is also subjective, but if you want to know why we consider things great that we do, collegiate level English classes are probably your best bet, especially literature and composition ones


pfroggie t1_j0qqez8 wrote

Yeah, just the gen English requirements in college. Someday I'd love to go back and take some courses just because they interest me, I'll add this to the list


No-Fig-3112 t1_j0r0kdz wrote

I took two, I was a history major. One was about literature and one fictional composition. Would recommend anything like that


CurlyDee t1_j0mkdgg wrote

OMG Anna Karenina. The Russian novels. The gothic novels like Jane Eyre. Similarities make me love them both so much.

You just made me hungry to read Russian or gothic.

I’ve read:

The Brothers Karamazov

War and Peace

Crime and Punishment

Fathers and Sons (Turgenev)

Jane Eyre

Wuthering Heights

Not sure what other reads fit in this category or if Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are in a category by themselves.

Recommendations to scratch the itch this post just caused?

Ami the only one who has an itchy reading spot that can be equallly satisfied by Russian or gothic novels? What do they have in common that I love?


Jenniferinfl t1_j0mlwbe wrote

We have a lot of crossover. I have to assume you've read Wuthering Heights right? It's been years since I read it, but I mentally group it with Jane Eyre.


Swimming_Badger760 t1_j0mkzw3 wrote

Well said. Side note, I can think of a few books I like that I wish were made great by how much they impacted me. Mostly stuff I read as a teenager that spoke to my adolescent intensity.


Jenniferinfl t1_j0ngxia wrote

Yup, there are a pile of horse and dog books that are so intense for me to revisit I can barely believe they are mediocre.


StoicComeLately t1_j0pxt0u wrote

Thank you for this. A lot of people cannot make this distinction. I very much enjoyed reading Twilight also - as well as 50 Shades, Flowers in the Attic, and Beautiful Disaster. I KNOW they are not profound, nor will they be considered great pieces of literature. But they are fun to read when your brain needs a break. Smut sells for a reason. 😉


NocturnOmega t1_j0r1c20 wrote

I can understand not liking parts of Moby Dick, it can be quite meandering, but what about the first chapters or Ismaels meeting with Quequeg? That imo was pretty top notch and a treat to read. There’s a lot of parts where the narrator bangs on about old archaic whaling terms and instrumentation, but the tedium I don’t think was apparent all throughout the book.


Jenniferinfl t1_j0r74ue wrote

There were parts of it that were great. I can't help but feel I would have loved an abbreviated version without all the archaic whaling terms and wildly inaccurate whale facts.


NocturnOmega t1_j0rnuhe wrote

Wildly inaccurate whale facts? Lol. They were going off what they knew at the time. I hear you though, I dnf’d it years back for those exact reasons, but I’m so glad I went back and finished it. An abridged version just wouldn’t be the same. Sometime after I finished the novel, I saw a YouTube video about a Nantucket whaling vessel and the person in the video was going over all the trinkets and what worker did what and where on the boat, and while watching I literally could call out everything the person said before they said it. It was kinda cool, I didn’t really appreciate the lil things in the novel at first, but it’s really like a snap shot of a time and place.


showard995 t1_j0mvuo0 wrote

It is a masterpiece. Offred is a prisoner, how do you expect her to “explore the world around her”? We see what she sees. Of course the end is abrupt, she is suddenly taken away. Was she rescued by Mayday? Sent to the colonies? The wall? We don’t know. It’s terrifying. The “bits of backstory” explain how America failed and Giliad rose. Kinda important. And by the way, the treatment of women in The Handmaids Tale is true. Everything Atwood describes has happened to women in some culture at some point. This is a piece of very important literature, a book to which attention must be paid.


NocturnOmega t1_j0pp9bt wrote

Good points. I think the tv show, and it’s differences led people to imagine or expect something totally different. They made the main charecter a resistance fighter, girl boss in the show. Whereas, the book offers a more grounded realistic take on what it would be like for a woman to be in that horrifying, oppressive situation. I haven’t read the book, but I heard it’s very different from the show, at least after the 1st season.


amarezero t1_j0p369z wrote

To my understanding, The Handmaid’s Tale is more a story of America, misogyny, and the broad latent support for hard-right theological fascism that has long existed just below the surface than it is the story of Offred. Removing those ‘back story’ elements is kind of removing all of the sociopolitical commentary, right?


TRIGMILLION t1_j0lv51d wrote

Margaret Atwood poorly written? I don't think so. I've had some of her work not suit my taste but everything is beautifully written.


k4tiemay t1_j0m23yf wrote

Oh my goodness, I adored it. I think even if it's not your bag, to say it's poorly written is not fair really.


rrickitickitavi t1_j0lnymv wrote

Why do people make posts like this?


Singto_ OP t1_j0loo8y wrote

To share their thoughts, what else?


rrickitickitavi t1_j0loty0 wrote

Are you really under the impression that you’re sharing “thoughts”?


QueensOfTheNoKnowAge t1_j0lrcsv wrote

I’m confused. What do you think the OP is doing?


rrickitickitavi t1_j0lrwmw wrote



QueensOfTheNoKnowAge t1_j0m2p4s wrote

Why do you think OP is trolling?


rrickitickitavi t1_j0mjyzx wrote

There are ways to critically discuss classic books in a constructive way that doesn’t dismiss their legacy. There have been lots of discussions about “East of Eden” in this forum for instance. “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been revered for both its premise and prose for decades. It’s themes are so relevant that the book continues to be invoked daily in the United States. And yet OP dismisses it all as “too long with so little substance.” That’s just being deliberately obtuse or contrarian in order to provoke people.


QueensOfTheNoKnowAge t1_j0ml81u wrote

OP didn’t criticize the relevance or themes, or the premise, they just didn’t like the style.


chrispd01 t1_j0m1fpj wrote

Atwood is one of the great writers of her gneration. As my English teacher Ms Williams said of Shakespeare “if you dont like his writing, its really more your fault than his”


not_so_subtle_now t1_j0mvyx7 wrote

> “if you dont like his writing, its really more your fault than his”

Not so much a fault as a preference. Though if someone is of the opinion they are bad writers (as OP seems to think of Atwood)... in that case I'd agree with your teacher.


chrispd01 t1_j0mwmjk wrote

Well, she would’ve said like but in any event I think she was just trying to turn a memorable phrase for a bunch of highschoolers in the mid-1980s


Griffen_07 t1_j0lvsnx wrote

What were you expecting going in? Did you expect something like the show?


Theobat t1_j0mvnii wrote

I felt kind the first season of the show captured the tone of the book quite well.


BookishBitching t1_j0ng0pp wrote

I'd wager a guess that most men don't like the book. It's not necessarily a conscious sexism thing, it's a relatability thing. Most (not all obvi) cis men don't have the experience of having your gender weaponised against you. Legislated against you. No credit cards in your name, no mortgages, no property, no rights. No ability to get an abortion, rapes not investigated. And that's recent history/right now. The sense of crushing, claustrophobic dread is probably more relatable to people who live that on the daily. It's not meant to be a dig, I've just never met a cis man who liked the book, if he was even able to get through it. They exist, just not where I live apparently lmao.


NocturnOmega t1_j0pryy7 wrote

Mmmmm. I don’t know about that. Maybe for some men. But serious readers can empathize with a variety of different walks of life and enjoy a good writers story whatever the social commentary may be. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t speak specifically on its deeper meanings, but I have read Oryx and Crake, and while I can’t say Atwood isn’t a very gifted writer, I just wasn’t in love with her story telling. I liked it, I just didn’t love it. I would love for another of her books to change my mind. There’s a lot of female authors I adore. Shirley Jackson and Le Guinn are 2 of my all time favorites. I think maybe your on to something in terms of impact, that the subject matter might hit closer to home for women. But I think if a male reader loves Atwood’s other work, they’d love this one as well. Pls don’t downvote me for slightly disagreeing. Thank you.


circasomnia t1_j0lwg8g wrote

IMO, no. It's fucking incredible, a work of art, each line a goddamn poem. To each their own though.


NocturnOmega t1_j0pqhz2 wrote

To each their own is a good rule of thumb. Not everyone is gonna love the novels you love. It’s annoying for sure when someone takes to task a work you love, but when that happens I try to understand not everyone appreciates the things I found amazing about a book. But I never downvote a difference of opinion. Unless they give an unintellectual dismissive jape like, this book sucks. Lol


NocturnOmega t1_j0qzbrw wrote

The books not badly written, you just didn’t like it. There’s a difference. Complaining about being stuck with Offred doing day to day chores, instead of exploring the fictional world the author built, shows me that your kinda missing the whole point. Offred is the novel, she’s the handmaid. IT’S HER TALE! Haha Jesus.


KireMac t1_j0nis74 wrote

The thriller that you are looking for, is the TV series. It's on Hulu.


kookerpie t1_j0mnvw4 wrote

Did you watch the show first?


Feelingsixty t1_j0mqwaa wrote

I didn’t care for it either, although I think it’s very well-written and I’ve enjoyed other books by Atwood. I just felt I was being hit over the head repeatedly with how awful the society of Gilead was. I got it the first time - didn’t need to have it described 27 different ways. Unlike most posters I appreciated hearing from someone else who didn’t like this nearly universally revered novel.


Ventisquear t1_j0nwvso wrote

No, the fact that you didn't like it doesn't mean it's quality is bad. It means it doesn't fit your taste, that's all. And that's okay. The world would be unbearably dull if we all liked all the same things.

For example, the 'improvements' you suggested would completely ruin the book for me, taking out everything that makes it unique and turning it into a standard multi-pov story.

So, to each their own. Live and let live, and so on. :)


bofh000 t1_j0n4qa5 wrote

Here we are, millions, legion, expecting books to make us think and wonder about what’s going on. Actually resenting authors who tell, don’t show us. Here we are appreciating a book written the way a person might think, in random bits of memories that will help us the readers put the pieces together to reveal the whole puzzle. And sometimes we are even able to appreciate a book that doesn’t bring closure, much like life. More fools us.

I am a bit confused when people expect to “enjoy” a book written from the POV of a traumatized woman forced into sexual and reproductive slavery by a society made of fanatic religious slavers.


WrenTaylorWrites t1_j0n3h0q wrote

I don't think it is poorly written, but you are definitely not alone in not enjoying it. One of my friends has DNFed every Atwood book she's started because she finds them so boring, and it took me forever to read The Handmaid's Tale because of how much she hated it.


zwenmer t1_j0oklvo wrote

Margaret Atwood once said, "Not everyone will like your book. If they do, then you're doing something wrong".

You have all the valid reasons for not liking the book but that should apply to just you and others like you with the same expectations.

The book doesn't show a lot of promise in the beginning that it will get better and I'd agree with you. But I personally feel that the lack of information about the protagonist IS what drives the reader to explore more about her and her past. Atwood doesn't just wanna tell you that this is what happens to Offred and this is what she has to go through everyday. She ensures that the readers empathize with Offred living in this totalitarian regime that specifically denies women's rights and freedom.

The part where Offred recollects from her past again and again might seem annoying but you certainly can't give her background in one go. As I said, getting to know more about her is what drives the readers forward.

Yes, nothing much happens to her that is 'interesting' ( Well a lot happens to her, but not always). But this is the part which the speculative fiction lovers aka Atwood fans, LOVE. The whole concept is to give you chills of how your society could turn out if not checked regularly. I don't know about you, but the people who exclusively love the book will say that it made them feel as if it was all real. You have this conflicting opinion that this is so inhuman and yet humans ARE capable of such a thing. The reason you feel that is because Atwood has studied the history and has incorporated each and every practice in the book from some part of the history and this is what is her brilliancy.

And finally, the conclusion. MAN! My favourite. I know why it would cause an outrage. But the ambiguity is what makes the ending so good. Although, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that Offred had made verbal records of her story rather than in the form of manuscripts because the narration was so bookish and it IS a book afterall. The fate of Offred is left for the readers to decide after giving us small hints of how the regime continued following the event of her 'escape'.

You hating the book doesn't change anything for the people who like it. But I would request you to empathize with them. Your taste lies in a different genre or a different style of writing and that's what Atwood would tell you.


Piano_mike_2063 t1_j0pig5q wrote

No. Absolutely not. That woman is smart, creative, and is a genius poet and writer.


Mysterious_Attempt22 t1_j0mmn0a wrote

It had a few boring moments, but I thought it was well written, and in some ways realistic: a person in that situation won't have many chances or opportunities to escape it, or to influence the world very much. She's a prisoner inside an effective totalitarian theocracy.


RoseIsBadWolf t1_j0mo4wf wrote

I tried to read it and couldn't get through.

But I LOVED Oryx and Craike. So maybe it just wasn't my thing.


Honeycrispcombe t1_j0o77my wrote

Oh man I'm the exact opposite. Loved Handmaid's Tale. Hated Oryx and Craike.


RoseIsBadWolf t1_j0o7cnw wrote


I feel like I usually like all of what an author has written. I probably wouldn't have tried Atwood again but I went camping and someone brought the book along.


Honeycrispcombe t1_j0ooeya wrote

Atwood's style changes a lot from book to book, much more so than most authors.

I also think the Handmaid's Tale is the best thing she'll ever write, and that makes it harder for me to enjoy her other works, I think, since to me they're just very unlikely to ever be as good.


kungfughazi t1_j0oozf2 wrote

It's understandable that you might have had high expectations for "The Handmaid's Tale" and that you were disappointed after reading it. However, it's important to remember that literary works are often highly subjective and what one reader finds enjoyable or well-written may not be the same for another reader.

That being said, "The Handmaid's Tale" is a highly acclaimed work of literature that has won numerous awards and has been widely read and studied. It has been praised for its exploration of themes such as oppression, gender roles, and reproductive rights, and for its portrayal of a dystopian society. While it is true that the novel is told from the perspective of Offred and that much of the narrative is centered on her daily life and experiences, this serves to provide a personal and intimate look at the world of Gilead and the impact that the society has on Offred's life and sense of self.

It's possible that the pacing of the novel and the focus on Offred's daily life might not have worked as well for you as it has for other readers, and that's perfectly fine. Different works of literature appeal to different readers in different ways, and it's important to remember that there is no one "right" way to interpret or evaluate a book.


StoicComeLately t1_j0px5b2 wrote

I loved it despite how bleak it was. Personally, I'm over the multiple narrator format that seems to be most fiction novels these days. It feels disjointed to me and takes me out of the story. I get what you're saying about it ending abruptly and the slowness of the plot. But that is perfectly appropriate for the messaging and what you're supposed to get out of the book. It is a "day in the life of" type of format. We're seeing a snapshot of a person's life, which feels more real to me, in this case, than a beginning-middle-end type of story.

I'll tell you one thing. The part about her daughter being taken away and her never finding out what happened to her was the hardest part of this book for me to digest. And I read this before having a daughter of my own. I don't think I would get through it if I tried to read it again.

I won't watch the tv show for a few reasons.

  • I don't want it to confuse my remembrance of the book.
  • I can barely read about rape. I definitely can't watch it.
  • I refuse to support the Church of Scientology in any way, including consuming media with Scientologist celebrities in them.

That said, everyone has their own taste and there are plenty of super popular books that I hated. There are also heavily maligned books that I love. It's perfectly ok to not like A Handmaid's Tale.

PS: Would anyone agree that A Handmaid's Tale has a similar atmospheric feel to Never Let Me Go? Unlike AHT, I could never decide whether I liked that book or not.


sunxmountain t1_j0oersw wrote

It might be worth considering the writing style as an artifact from a time period. The older I get and the more I read, the more I notice stylistic preferences/norms really do shift decade to decade. The "vibe" definitely feels old fashioned to me now, but it didn't when I furst read thr book a few decades ago.


NocturnOmega t1_j0pm3n1 wrote

I’ve never read Handmaid, so I can’t speak to that specific book, but I have read another book by Atwood that just kinda missed the mark for me…. The first book in her genetic dystopian trilogy: Oryx & Crake. It wasn’t a bad novel by any means. I just wasn’t floored by what I was reading.


Cledaddy23 t1_j0ptk67 wrote

I found it to be very well written, with some incredible prose.


mortuarybarbue t1_j0s42ac wrote

Yes and the sequel is no better. Im pretty sure Margaret Attwood cant end a book. I mean I know a lot of authors get that rep but literally her books abruptly end and then have a bad flash forward.


kookerpie t1_j0s6h5q wrote

I don't remember that book ending with a flash forward


mortuarybarbue t1_j0srlsa wrote

I might be mixing it up with the movie. But yeah it ends with a group of people on the future having read the journals or something and then laughing about the rediculousness of the situation.its mostly men.


Griselda68 t1_j0nkpze wrote

I read the book many years ago when it came out. I did not care for it. I have to agree with you as to it’s lack of substance.


geekpron t1_j0myqxv wrote

It had plot holes and with some "scenes " not being 100%, this happened. I thought that was a strange filler.


cremaster2 t1_j0ll29u wrote

Don't know about the book, but the series has the same feel as Mel Gibsons movies.


Fictitious1267 t1_j0mbi3z wrote

She's primarily a poet. So you can see how that writing style reflected in her prose, and her need to rephrase the same idea 2 to 3 times to add color. I enjoyed that at first, and found it slightly additive to read, but it started to wear thin about half way through.

The plot was just okay. It was basically a slice of life journal from a specific time period. There are other dystopias that have a stronger message and accomplish more, but this one was rather unique.

The only thing I had issues with was the message. I found it forced to a degree that I suspected that the author might be slightly schizophrenic. And when she draws parallels with biblical instances, that they were taken out of context either through ignorance or likely intentionally, so that she could say "see how evil the patriarchy is?" which only works based on the ignorance of the reader. I found that disingenuous. If you can't find proper resources to add depth to your story, don't lie to your audience, simply don't use them, or find other instances that do work.

I'm referring to the book misleading the reader that the concept of a handmaid giving birth to children for the patriarch. Historically, it was the patriarch's wife that came up with the idea (Sarah and Hagar), which was completely left out, since it didn't fit with the narrative that the author was pushing; that this was a society built up by old men, for old men to objectify young women, and as a warning never to let men go this far again (erroneously).

Since the entire crux of the story revolves around illiteracy, I can see why it's popular in college settings. But no, I don't consider it a good book. It feels closer to propaganda, honestly.


Theobat t1_j0mxb1o wrote

A major theme of the book is the wives of the commanders being complicit in the creation of Gilead and the subjugation of themselves and other women. That fits quite well with the biblical story of the wife coming up with the handmaid scheme. If a woman’s entire value to society is to produce children, the more wealthy women will outsource the job. It’s not all the different from surrogacy today.


appolo11 t1_j0ltw9b wrote

It is terribly written. You are correct.