The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

A few months ago I mentioned in my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale that I was hurrying through the book to be able to watch the new series on Bravo.

Tonight was the season finale and it was amazing.

This is one of the few shows that – in my opinion – has far surpassed the depth and entertainment value of the novel.

I love admire am in awe of the world of Gilead that the show’s creators have created, from the descriptions in Atwood’s novel. It is not a place I would want to live in, though I very much fear that it is the direction some parts of the world are headed in (you listening Missouri?!)

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I don’t want to talk to much about the plot and ruin it, but I will say that the show has built on the base structure provided by the book and made it better. You see the Mexican and Canadian approaches to the collapse of the United States and even though villains abound in Gilead, there are few characters I cannot empathize with, or feel sorry for, at some point in the tale.

Even Mrs. Waterford.

I find myself bouncing between disgust at her actions and pity for the world she has trapped herself in, one partially of her own creation.

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Nick is the most difficult character for me to pin down. He seems to be a decent guy but he isn’t a bystander in Gilead. He is an active participant. An undercover Eye. Nick was a member of the coup that took down the government of the United States of America. He knows June has a daughter and he isn’t helping them. He isn’t the good guy as much as we I may be rooting for him to be.

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The most exciting point in the finale for me, was the first glimpse of Hannah in Gilead and I cannot wait for the second season to begin airing!

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(or, as seen on Bravo if you’re Canadian)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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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…

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Well I finally finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I had read part of it years ago as a pre-teen, when I was lured in by this evocative cover, but it was too heavy and intellectual for me at the time.

I was motivated to read it again now because of the tv show airing on Bravo. Once again, it was the visuals – in this case the trailer – that drew me in, but book nerd that I am, I had to read the book first. I read it in two sessions, but those sessions were a couple of months apart.

I loved the premise behind this story, the post-apocalyptic world that Atwood imagines, and its beginnings eerily reflect some of the current news circling the world.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love her writing style. And I really detested the end of the book. This story was largely character-based, but it is the plot that drew me in. In effect, essentially nothing happens throughout most of the story, and the ending felt like a huge cliffhanger. I felt as if I should only be halfway through the book when in actuality I was finished.

If you are a reader who likes to delve into the nuances of a character and reader the minute internal emotional journey they undergo, this is probably a great book for you. If you are more of a plot-based fan who wants things to move along at a faster clip, try the show instead. I am loving it much more.

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