The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Published: 1st April 1998 (print)/2nd June 2011 (audio) Goodreads badge
Anchor Books/Random House
Pages: 314/10 hours 23 minutes
Narrator: Joanna David
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Classic
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

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…

I’m glad I finally read this and it’s clear this is a classic for a reason and stands the test of time because the issues it touches on are ongoing and remain as important as they did in the 80s. I was drawn in by this story and I’m glad it lives up to its reputation, I was equally fascinated and mortified by so much throughout this book I have no doubt that was Atwood’s intention.

It is a powerful move to make Offred remember her life before. It would have been easier to have this society be this way for so long no one really remembers the before times, but having it in living memory of someone relatively young is a beautifully horrifying choice and makes this so much more powerful. This is always seen as a dystopian story but the events fall so close to being possible it’s unsettling. It’s not quite in the dystopian world of nuclear fallout or environmental collapse, it is a construction of society and men and at times relatively close to reality it’s not too far to imagine it actually happening.

Atwood doesn’t need to infodump on us about what happen in full chronological details. She weaves information and history through Offred’s flashback’s and natural story. It never felt like we were being explained things, but at the same time what we don’t get told is also part of the fun. You can see it unfolding and the clues coming together, while still remaining in the dark about so much. I loved the inclusion of the Japanese tourists. It reminded me of a post I had seen on Tumblr about what the rest of the world is doing while the United States is having its dystopian dramas in all these books and movies. It’s little details like this that help shape the world Offred is living and the society that has been formed.

The audiobook was an amazing experience, especially given the ending and Moss did such a great job in telling this story. She was very good at putting contempt and distain into her voice, she was also skilled at incorporating a natural voice for Offred: fluid, casual offhanded remarks if they had just come to her, uncertainty and worry. I felt like I was listening to this woman’s story.

Atwood lets you create your own conclusions, better or worse about what happened. There is hope but there is also a sense of acceptance and leaving it to the reader is a powerful move. I actually loved not having answers. I won’t spoil what is and what isn’t told, but it was a great way to stay within the narrator’s world, and not to provide easy answers for the readers. It played into the emotional mindset of Offred, and to have it make sense as the story she was telling, not an outside view for us to know everything. Her story no doubt is for those who already know a lot, this is her own experience, retelling her story through what has happened, the reader picks up snippets here and there but the broader tale is known and meant to be understood by the fictional players which is a brilliant move.

You can purchase The Handmaid’s Tale via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

Book Bingo 2019 Update #1

BingoThe first four months of the year have passed, way too quickly for my liking but here we are. Now that May has arrived it’s time for the first update in my Book Bingo Challenge. This is inadvertently and definitely the year for reading the things I’ve been meaning to read for a super embarrassingly long time.

I am still not trying to make a line at the moment even though I am very close, I am more curious to find later that I’ve read something that will fit into a box. A small part of me though is keeping an eye out for suitable books that I can read that fall into my categories. It’s a complicated mash up of all the things which is working totally fine for me right now. In all honestly I’m just a little happy I am remembering to actively participate in my own bingo challenge this year.


Debut Author

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I was so excited to read this story and Green did not disappoint. I love his complex ideas and the insight of the media and the internet community is something he is more than qualified to explore. With gripping writing and a wonderful science fiction aspect it is a wonderful story and I am so excited (and impatient) for the sequel.


Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer

A few years behind the fuss I’m glad I finally got to read this story. I listened to Tracey tell the story herself and from her voice it was interesting hearing her go through her life and career with all the challenges she’s faced. It is an eye opening story and one that it great to hear from someone inside the industry. It isn’t the most powerful book, but it does its best.

Set in Australia

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

This may be Harper’s best work yet. I loved her subtle connection to her other characters and this family oriented, complicated, isolated story was one I could not put down. I read from cover to cover in one sitting and loved every minute of it. There’s suspense, drama, emotions, and moral dilemmas. What more could you want?


Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

I loved how Kwaymullina tells this story. It is profound, mystical, enlightening and a captivating story. The Aboriginal culture is celebrated and I loved how spirituality and practice of two different cultures come together. It’s a beautiful, harrowing story and draws you in.


On TBR For More Than Two Years

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

Benedictus has captured Milne’s voice beautifully. There is a difference I will admit, but the heart is there, and it is clearly the best voice to carry on the story of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. The stories ring true to those from decades ago and you can picture Pooh vividly as well as all the friends we’ve come to know and love.


Movie Adaptation

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This is a strange book that definitely appeals to some more than others. The movie is a decent adaptation and I would suggest if you didn’t like the book or haven’t gotten around to reading it, go for the film instead. It’s much more enjoyable with the good quirkiness kept in and the better parts of the story being included.

Non Human MC

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I have finally gotten around to reading this classic despite catching a few references over the years. A decent read and one that wasn’t as grand as I first thought, but dramatic all the same. There is a realism in the animals but there is also a logic and worldly knowledge.



The Wicked King

Holly Black has shown her master skills once more as we continue in this series. It is the perfect fantasy with magic, foreign lands, war, humans and a mess of all them combined. The magical world Black constructs is fascinating and filled with complicated drama to keep you always guessing and certainly eager for the story to never end.

A Classic

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Having known the general idea of the novel before starting I was surprised at the actual exploration of this dystopian world. I enjoyed the strangeness of the story and the fact we are never quite given any answers. I’m glad I can tick this book of my list at last.