All member reviews for The Handmaid's Tale

Common Sense Media says

Gripping dystopian novel of religious state against women.

Users say

(out of 6 reviews)
age 16+
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Educator Written byMGuillet June 28, 2014

One of the most important dystopian novels ever written

Let me begin by stating that I would not recommend this novel for younger adolescents, due to the rather blunt treatment of sex and violence in its dystopian setting. Parents should, of course, use their discretion. If in doubt, please read it first, and determine for yourselves the age you feel is appropriate. With that clarified, I am confident that most parents and teachers would agree that Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" is an extraordinary work of fiction. In summary, the novel tells of a near-future dystopian America, in which a militaristic dictatorship, with a distinctly Christian flavor, has seized control. Under this new regime, a harsh return to old values has meant that women no longer have access to any kind of financial or sexual autonomy, and that their primary (nearly sole) societal value rests in their ability to give birth. The main character, through her first-person chronicle, reveals ever more details of this society's structure, and how it came to be, as the story moves forward. Atwood's societal insights are very astute, and frightening, making it in my judgment a must-read for older aldolescents, and, of course, for adults who have not discovered it yet.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written byaleea03 August 19, 2013

Give It A Go!

This is one of the books we had to read for the second year if our English Literature A-Level so I bought it and read it straight away. At first, the ambiguity as to what is actually happening and the constant flashbacks can be a little confusing and I personally think that if you quite easily give in on reading a book if you aren't captured right away, then this may be a difficult book to finish. I'm the sort of person who will finish a book once started and I'm really glad I did because it's a brilliant, thought provoking story which once you get into, you will demand to know the end of. I would definitely encourage anyone 16 and onwards to give this book a chance because it manages to make you think whilst also being an incredible story.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old January 13, 2015

Thoughts on the Dystopia

The Handmaid's Tale is a gripping tale of a dystopian society based on the Old Testament. Thanks to this, this society heavily discriminates against women. This book is very good. Lovers of speculative fiction will love thinking about why the women are oppressed in this book. However, there are two sex scenes, (one more graphic than the other) a brothel, multiple uses of cigarettes, and people being discriminated/killed for their religion/sexuality. If you know your kid can handle this book, then let them read it. Otherwise, I'd recommend it for older audiences.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 16 and 18+ year old Written byDetermined in AZ December 6, 2013

Stay away from this one

Their are some episodes of sex which is described in detail and bad language. I could not find any redeeming value and it was not a satisfying ending. I would stay away from this one for my teen and yourself. It's not worth the time.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bymagster23 August 3, 2016
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 17 years old Written by_____________ August 29, 2015
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models