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Stepping out of your Element ( 1 )

Stepping Out of Your Element
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 🙂 

Publisher: Anchor Books
Edition: Paperback
Published: March 16th 1998 by Archor Books
Genre: Feminist Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published: 1985
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 

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! 

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About Pages, Paints & Pawprints

Just a gal, her cat, and a ton of books.

12 responses »

  1. I might read this book one day. Maybe even when I go to college next year. I like this feature. Maybe, if you make it a meme, I will be able to contribute soon. I'll be taking an AP Lit class during my upcoming (last!) year of high school, so I'll definitely be reading a lot of non-YA books!

    Reply
  2. I keep seeing this book appear on different lists. I've been meaning to read this for ages but haven't had a chance. Knowing that it has cross over appeal definitely helps. 🙂

    Reply
  3. I saw this back in high school and I had no clue what it was about, and honestly I never bothered to pick it up because it sounds like a historical romance, lol. I really need to try it, it seems like it's a wonderful book.

    Reply
  4. That would be awesome, thank you for stopping by!

    Reply
  5. I agree, it took my book club reading for me actually to do it and if you can get past the writing style, it is a good book!

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  6. Yeah the cover that you most often find does look like a historical romance, you are right! HA just goes to show covers matter people! 🙂

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  7. Nice review! Thanks for stopping by my blog. =)

    Reply
  8. This was a class read in high school for me. It always stands out because we had to get parental permission to read it.Its a classic of dystopian novels. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the genre. Audible has a very good narration by Claire Danes, for anyone who like audiobooks.

    Reply
  9. Wow, high school that is impressive! That's one awesome teacher you had!

    Reply
  10. Hi from the WLC! Thanks for following my blog 🙂 Yours is great!Andrea

    Reply

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