The Handmaid’s Tale – Book review


Finished reading

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood



I was so happy when I found a really cheap Croatian edition of this book last year on a book fair Interliber in Zagreb. The publisher was selling older – and I might add only edition in Croatian language on the market, but the books were totally new and seemed to be pulled out of some warehouse they’ve been locked up for the last thirty years. So I got a new old book! The book and the author intrigued me for a while now and this is the first and only book by Margaret Atwood I’ve read so far.



I actually had no idea that the movie already existed. This book is a dystopian vision of the future written in the eighties and is often mentioned alongside Orwell’s 1984. While I was reading the book I was riveted to the pages and I’ve literally read it trough in three days!

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

It has been a while since a book had my attention like this one did. My eyes were glued to the pages. Reading this kind of book from a female narrative left me feeling raw. It was the little things, the emotional tidbits and everyday things most of us take for granted that really got to me.

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

For me this book was emotional and mesmerizing. At times it read like a thriller or crime novel and next page was all drama. The translator of Croatian edition used a quite catchy phrase in the commentary on the book: thriller, critique of society and an anxious literary vision.

The trailer for the new TV series that starts by the end of April looks scary. I can’t help but think on author commentary and the fact that Margaret Atwood had some reservations on The Handmaid’s Tale being described as a science fiction. She argued that most of the stuff she wrote about and used in the story were part of the real world at the time when the book was written. I find it scary how believable and plausible the story actually flows from the pages.


I’m glad to have read this book. I will try to watch the TV show but I’m not sure I will like it in such visual form. Some parts were quite brutal and I very much appreciated the perspective form the main character. I felt that there was a buffer trough narrative and the flow of the novel, while still riveting and intense, was much easier to swallow this way.


2 thoughts on “The Handmaid’s Tale – Book review

  1. What a treasure of a book to find! I am yet to read this – I have a (very boring modern) copy on my TBR shelf. I should try to finish it before I am tempted to watch the film or tv series! Bronte

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