A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, September 13, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood- Feature and Review



The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a 1985 publication.

This year I’ve been trying to add books into my reading schedule that 'the entire world has read but me.' This book falls into that category, I think. As it happens, I had downloaded this book from the Kindle Unlimited library a long while back but kept putting it off.

To be honest Dystopian literature is not my favorite. I have dabbled in the genre, but usually, I give it a pass. Not only that, something about all the comparisons to current events made the book feel intimidating and it made me nervous. I’m already in a constant state of anxiety and didn’t know if I wanted to read something that was going to add to it.

Sure enough, right off the bat, I was on edge. I see where the comparisons are coming from now. But I don’t think Margaret Atwood had a crystal ball back in 1985 when this book was first published. That is why I felt this book was so unsettling.

Society, not just in America, but everywhere, has seen periods of progress, followed by enormous setbacks in human rights of all types. Obviously, this novel addresses the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. Religious extremes have prompted some serious conversations about this book, but the set up here, in my opinion, is a means to an end.

Now that I’ve skated past that land -mine-

What I took away from this story was a that it was an important cautionary tale. It’s a strong lesson in complacency which is the most prominent theme, and the one I feel has the most urgency. Today we toss around phrases like ‘new normal’ or ‘normalizing’, which sends chills down my spine.

While this is a fictional story, it does have a basis in real history, revealing cycles of progression and regression.

Is that how we lived, then? But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Whatever is going on is as usual. Even this is as usual, now. We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Nothing changes instantly: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.

Overall, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book. It gave me the willies, but it has also given me a lot to chew on. It pretty much sums up my feelings about resting on the laurels of those who have made sacrifices and did the grunt work for the privileges enjoyed by women today.

This book should be a lesson to us all. Complacency comes with consequences. Let’s make sure we never take our rights for granted, and that we continue to fight the good fight for ourselves and future generations.








More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

"Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in."
--Margaret Atwood






Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

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