I’m one of those people who say “You should always read the book before seeing the TV adaptation.” In my opinion, if you see it on TV before you read the book, your mind already has an idea of what the characters look like, sound like, and what the setting should be. And then when you go to read the book, and a different description pops up, you can’t help but feel it is wrong. Unfortunately for me, I saw The Handmaid’s Tale on TV before I had even considered reading the book. And after three seasons of the show, I decided I should read the book – for fun, and for a dissertation I am doing in school.
Set in the near-future, this dystopian novel follows Offred, a Handmaid, as she lives in the totalitarian society of The Republic of Gilead. Handmaids have one role – to reproduce. They are the baby carriers for the Commanders and their Wives. Offred must survive in this new world, without losing herself in the process, all while her life rests in the hands of two men.
Simply put, this is a great book. I thought I would struggle with imagining the characters the way Atwood had wanted, and I will admit a couple of times I pictured the TV show actors, however I found her descriptions perfect. It was easy to just read the book, and let Atwood’s words take over.
Through her use of characterisation and tone, Atwood conveys the story magnificently. Although for the most part she is serious and blunt, I believe this adds to the overall effect of the book. Knowing what the novel contains, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t want to give any spoilers about the book, if you so choose to read it, but I will say this – it is a fantastic read. It highlights certain topics that are just as relevant now, as they were when Atwood first published this novel. I highly recommend every person should read The Handmaid’s Tale.
So, my fellow book lovers, pick up your copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, make a quick cuppa, get comfortable, and start reading. You’re in for a treat.
Oh, and one more thing, try and read it before watching it on TV. You’ll thank me later for that.
Come on by and borrow a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale at GWL!