The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Book description


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe…

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Why read it?

18 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If you ever need an illustration of why you should always fight for equality and fairness amongst all people in the real world, this is it. What I loved most about this book is how unapologetic it was at depicting the consequences of allowing inequality to rule over nations. This story single-handedly taught me how to keep fighting, both for others and for myself in life. I took the stoicism of these characters and incorporated them within myself. It is a strength that I will always thank this author for.

While Atwood ultimately feared that theology and religion would be humanity’s downfall, I don’t think she predicted the dogmatic worship of government. From the women’s bodies being used as political instruments and language as a tool of power, to the causes of complacency and complicity, the deeply religious thematic elements are clear. 

Margaret Atwood was right in fearing that religions would ruin us. However, rather than orthodox religions being the cause of totalitarianism, it is the Church of the Woke that is becoming the very evil they deplore. This unorthodox church places a giant stigma on Motherhood, putting those women…

Atwood’s Offred is an interesting choice for a list of strong female sci-fi leads because her arc takes time and she’s not a hero in the aggressive sense of the rest of my heroines. But this honest rendering makes the terrifying world Atwood has built and the story of the women oppressed in Gilead more realistic. An ordinary woman placed in an extraordinary situation, Offred is sympathetic and kind without being a doormat. Her gallows sense of humor brings Gilead to life in a bearable way. It’s easy to judge Offred as passive or weak, but she’s a hero because…

Many people have been glued to their televisions watching this in abject horror thinking no way would this happen! The Handmaid’s Tale is a mind-boggling book with a forecast of what may cause you not to want to continue reading. I employ you to not deny yourself. As a woman you will find this book disturbing, a bit of dystopian fiction. It is hard to digest the concept of a totalitarian world, however when reading it against the recent events of our Supreme Court it becomes plausible in ways, we as women could not imagine. Fertility of women and those…

I love this novel even as it becomes increasingly and alarmingly more representative of the real world. Atwood’s heroine is one trapped by her society; Offred cannot blatantly refuse the orders made by powerful men and must find cleverer and more covert means of rebellion. I connect to this kind of heroine more than to many of the YA tropes of the “strong” female lead. Offred uses her own tools rather than those of the patriarchy to fight back, and she proves that there is strength in attention to detail, memory, and patience. 

While reading this dystopian novel, my thoughts constantly swung between “make-believe” and “what if this was actually true”. It’s a fascinating perspective on just how easily our lives can be adversely affected by those who believe their intentions are for the greater good.

This scenario could so easily become a reality in the not-too-distant future and in spite of this, the story enticed me to travel along with the courageous Handmaids’ constant battle to stay mentally strong and to do whatever was necessary to stay alive.

It is a gripping tale and a testament to humanity’s instinct for survival.


Like all great dystopian books, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a powerful condemnation of our present reality, and is finding particular resonance in today’s debates on female agency and equality. The story takes place in a United States transformed into a religious-military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead, where women are only valued for what they can contribute to men. Beyond denying women property and literacy, Gilead denies them their names and autonomy over their bodies. The story is made more poignant and powerful through the eyes of Offred, a handmaid who still remembers and yearns for the life stolen…

From Mikhaeyla's list on dystopian to feed your rebellious spirit.

When I first read The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, it made a huge impression on me. As well as being a writer I am a Health Psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive health, and this book to me on so many levels. Offred’s life is all our worst fears as women and this novel truly brought another dimension of the world and what people are capable of into view. I was lucky enough to meet Margaret Atwood and chat about how she wrote the book and imagined the world, which I hope informs my own work. Everyone should read this book.

From J.A.'s list on women in dystopian worlds.

Hulu’s production of The Handmaid’s Tale has made the television show quite popular, but to know the power of this story, I strongly recommend reading the novel. The beauty of this work is in how personal Atwood makes this dystopian tale about the control of women’s bodies that, in 2022, is alarmingly close to our own realities. Like the white blinders that restrict the protagonist Offred’s vision, Atwood’s aperture is also small, thereby tying our vision closely to that of the main character’s. This, in turn, lends an incredible amount of dynamic tension to the novel, and we truly feel…

Of course! This one has to be on a list of books that are critical of religion's view of women! Even though it's set in the future, some things never change. And, I believe Atwood said as much when she said that everything that happens in the novel had already happened somewhere at some point in time.  

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