Stepping out of your Element is a feature that we would like to do that will highlight Non-YA books, for YA lovers. If this is a feature you are interested in please be sure to say so in the comments! Also- if you know of a meme or feature already out there that is similar PLEASE let us know so that we may ask permission or give credit to the original creator.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Source: My hometown library 🙂
Published: March 16th 1998 by Archor Books
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…
Any YA dystopian lovers will be able to easily dive into this dystopian novel. It is unlike all the dystopian novels I have read and very realistic. There may be some parts that are inappropriate for younger readers due to sex scenes (they are not very descriptive) but I would say it is appropriate for most upper YA readers.
I have read many dystopian novels but this is one the of oldest. It was published in the mid 80’s almost a decade before my favorite dystopian novel, The Giver. With that being said it is not your typical dystopian tale, it’s idea seems completely plausible in our modern day situation. This could be because it is not as futuristic as most current and popular dystopian novels. The Handmaid’s Tale really pushed me to think about how fast people are able to lose their rights. In the book, women lose rights almost overnight starting with freezing their bank accounts. (GRRR, why can’t the men lose the money) From there it just went downhill fast. You might be thinking that is not plausible at all. Let’s talk about the Berlin Wall, that was put up over night . Of course, it started as a barbed-wire fence but it grew in a matter of days. You go to bed one night and wake up the next separated from your neighbors, friends and family. Just plain disturbing but it has happened!
Thought provoking idea aside, the writing style is challenging because of the narration and the lack of quotation marks. The story is written sort of like a journal and Offred’s thoughts are everywhere. She flips between memories and realities without much notice. This book definitely took a lot longer than most paperbacks but it was worth the extra time. Also, I kept getting caught up on the names like Offred. It took me forever to realize that it meant Of-Fred. Your name changed depending on whose property you were. Sick, I know.
Overall thoughts, despite the extra reading time due to the writing style, it is very interesting and thought provoking to read. This book is read in many college classes for that very reason. I also recently found out there is a movie!