Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Canada Reads: The Handmaid's Tale

I've finished reading the first book for my version of Canada Reads. I made a personal challenge, I will read all the books listed for the CBC's Canada Reads challenge. I don't have a time line, let's face it reading thirty five books may take a while, especially when I tend to be very moody reader.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood was a selected book on Canada Reads 2002, it was championed by former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

I've had this book in my To Be Read shelf, better known as the Pit, for a very long time. It's been recommended to my countless of times, but I never gotten a chance to read. I admit, that I've overlooked several times while I'm perusing the Pit. I'm so glad that I read it.

Here's the blurb:

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

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 only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days 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....

I cannot believe that it took me so long to read this book. I loved it! I found it funny, moving and at times perturbing. It was one of the most powerful reads that I've experienced in a very long time. It brought me to tears!

Offred the handmaiden, the narrator of this story, and that's the only name we know her by. She's trying to live in a world that represses women, she's just a vessel, something to be used and when not needed any longer, she goes to next Commander. She longs for her husband and her child, not knowing where they are, she craves human touch (which is prohibited), she needs human interaction, but most of all she wants to feel. She's not living, she just going through the motions.

I highly recommend it!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (5/5) General Fiction; Published: McClelland & Stewart (1985); Canadian Author; Canada Reads; Keeper;

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