I’m currently sat on a plane on the way to Turkey for a week’s holiday (yay!) having just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m one of these people that can’t watch something derived from a book unless I’ve read the book first. It’s one of the ways I build my to-read list; if it is good enough for the screen then it must be a great book in the first place.
This one took me a matter of days. It’s a page turner. The whole idea blows my mind and it is so fascinating that we could actually live in a world like that. It’s plausible. It’s possible.
Hold on. I’m getting ahead of myself here.
If you don’t know what the story is about, in a nutshell, women are used merely to reproduce for married couples that cannot have their own children. They are sent to a family and must take part in a ‘ceremony’ once a month at the time of ovulation whereby the man will have sex with the Handmaid whilst the infertile woman is present. *shudders*
For someone currently trying to get pregnant, this really hit home. Here I am desperate to carry a baby and yet I’m reading about poor women who are being forced to do that exact thing against their will, not to mention the women who have to watch someone else conceive for them as they are unable. It really is beyond comprehension what kind of culture that society would breed (excuse the pun).
The story follows one particular Handmaid, Offred, and her journey through this unfathomable life. She is young, has her whole life to live and I really get the impression that she has an incredible strength within her. She keeps going when her whole life has been ripped away. She’s inspirational.
Without giving too much away, the ending is quite open. I’m usually very unsatisfied with these kind of endings. I feel cheated. Like the author couldn’t be bothered to think of a decent ending so used a cliffhanger as a get-out clause. But not here. The Historical Notes give a sense of perspective and context. They make it so much more real. Like this time period actually existed, making the story even more harrowing. You’ll know what I mean if you read it, which I would definitely recommend.
There is now a percentage of my being that can’t wait to get back from holiday to watch the TV series (albeit a very small percentage – come on, I’m about to land in 40 degree heat). But it has grabbed my maternal attention and I’m intrigued as to how it has been adapted for TV.
So without wishing away my holiday, roll on a serious binge-watching session.