I am a Millenial, born in the early nineties. I was raised on a wholesome diet of violent video games, overly sexualized song lyrics and unlimited access to the deepest corners of the internet. If you listen to the constant stream of parental hysteria channeled by the great British media, kids like me have been desensitized. Apparently, nothing phases my generation. No amount of violent, sex or profanity is going to bother generation Y instead we absorb it like the passive sponges of constant consumption that we are. We are a generation unable to flinch or look away, instead, we carry on scrolling, liking, and sharing. so if I was born in a time that means I became blessed with a completely sterile unfeeling bundle of psychopathy for a brain then how on earth, did a handmaids tale a book written in 1985, a date way before the causes of desensitization were mainstream, manage to put it bluntly, completely ‘shit me up’?
okay so I am aware that I am horrendously late to the Margaret Atwood party , many people my age studied A Handmaids Tale whilst at school but I didn’t and I am glad because I can’t actually remember what I read in its place. I read my first Atwood in September and have set myself the joyous task of reading all of her novels. The Handmaid’s Tale is my 4th and I can completely see why this book has been in print continuously for the last 31 years.
It’s haunting, creepy and I don’t think I have ever read a book that contains scenes which make me feel so uncomfortable (in a good way). The writing is incredible and I enjoy how Offred bounces between the past and present. This book still feels like it could be written today, and is set in a world which if were honest could easily become a reality. With themes including identity, relationships, and people being used as commodities and natural resources this story is still as relevant and poignant as the day it was conceived (wink wink).
I am not going to go into the plot too much as I am sure most of you have read it but there must be others like me who haven’t. If that is you. Get this book and read it. It’s brutal and awesome.