Banned Book 3 - Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Honestly, I don’t see how you can be adult women of a certain age and not have at least tried to read Handmaid’s Tale.  Atwood’s novel never seems to not be relevant.  Sadly.  If you don’t know, Atwood’s book is about a future America where fundamentalists have taken over, and everyone is given assigned roles.  If you are a woman who can get pregnant, you are a handmaid and are given to men whose wives can’t get pregnant.  You are to be a surrogate mother.


                This book tends to make banned and challenged lists because it is seen as anti-Christian and anti-male.  It’s strange, isn’t it, that any critique of Christianity (or insert your religion into the blank) is automatically anti.  Atwood’s book is anti-fundamentalist.  Because that’s the thing, everything that happens in the book has happened or is happening somewhere on Earth, in some form.


                That’s what really makes this a book a horror novel and not a dystopian.


                And it’s not anti-male.  It’s true that the men are in control, or at least some men are in control, but the men are not happy.  When the main character, Offred {her name is Of Fred} and her Commander engage in the reproductive act, it is rape but of whom?  The Commander isn’t having fun or getting anything from it, neither is Offred or the Commander’s wife, Serena Joy – who has to be present.  It’s like the Commander is both the rapist and another victim. 


                And I think that’s the point.  The focus of the book is on what the women go through, but a close reading reveals that part of the message is that such fundamentalism is equally damaging to those who believed they wanted it in the first place.  Of course, if you have power, it’s easily to get ignore some rules.


                Think of Taliban controlled Afghanistan where drug users and dealers were harshly punished, yet the Taliban itself sold opium to people outside the country.


                And dare I mention Mike Huckabee?

                Oops, I did.

                Hey, maybe that’s why people want this book banned, so you won’t be forewarned.