The Banned Book club book of the month is the Handmaid’s Tale. I have really been slacking the past couple months in terms of reading the books. However, I was lucky enough that the voted book was something I had already read last year. I never posted the review on my blog so this gave me an excellent opportunity to show off my best review I’ve ever written. I hope you all enjoy this!
Well this was certainly an interesting and thought provoking book. It made me think about how easily society can break. It made me think about how fragile we are as humans. It made me think about how quickly government can fail and a new and worse government can take it’s place.
I have a lot of thoughts, as you probably have guessed. I’ll talk about the book first before I get into my thoughts about the themes. At first, I wasn’t sure about this book. The first 15% of so was slow for me. There was a lot of things being mentioned but not explained. Luckily, I stuck it out because I had seen so many positive reviews. Everything eventually got explained and I felt better about reading this book. Although I really hate how it ended. I need closure, man.
This book follows the tale of Offred, which I think is pronounced “of fred”. She is a Handmaiden, which basically means she has to get pregnant in order to be a value in this new society. She has Commanders, that are in charge of her and impregnating her. Her freedom is extremely limited. The sad part is, she remembers a time when society wasn’t like this. She remembers what it was like to be free to dress however she wanted, smoke whenever she wanted, marry whoever she wanted and so much more.
I think that is one of the themes that really messed me up. The complete lack of freedom women suddenly had. Men were restricted too but not nearly as much as women. Women are forced to wear dresses and ridiculous headgear so no one can look them in the eye. They are treated as basically walking wombs. They have no real value in society besides birthing babies.
I couldn’t live in a society like that. Already, as a woman, I am constricted. Old men in the government feel like they have more a right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my own body. I am judged, constantly, for making the decision at 25 years old to not have kids. I even feel judged, telling people that I want a busy career, where there is no room for little ones. I feel it is silly to have to pay for menstrual napkins. I think it’s dumb as hell that women don’t get paid the same amount as men for doing the same type of work with the same education.
But reading this book has opened my eyes. I realize that even though I deal with those constrictions I listed above, I am still much better off than Offred and those women in the book. At least I can wear pants and swimsuits in public. But, I also realize that we, as a society, have so much more work to do. To make sure everybody is equal, men included.
It’s unfortunate though, that today, October 25, the USA will be going back 300 years with the inauguration of a President who is racist and sexist along with a Vice President who is homophobic. Reading this book has made me realize that we have to stand together as a country. We cannot go back in time to where no one but the white man had any sort of power. We cannot revert to what happens in this book. Where the Constitution was suspended and where men and women were publicly hung for small crimes like being a Baptist.
I think that everybody needs to read this book because of what is currently happening right now. Don’t discount as a silly feminist book. Yes, it is a feminist book, but it is so much more than that. It talks about equality for all sexes, not just females. It talks about equality for all religions and not just one.
Okay. I am done. There is so much more I could discuss about this book. I could go on and on and on. There are few books that provoke such feeling in me and this is one of them. I just urge everyone to read it. It will change the way you think about society, government and so much more.
why it was banned;
The Handmaid’s Tale has gone through the wringer in terms of it being banned. It’s even been attempted to be banned in my home state of Iowa, which doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me at all that this book has gone through an immense amount of banning, if I am just going to be completely honest. It’s not an easy book to read, especially if you are a woman. In my review above, I listed just a few reasons why.
I read this book early last year so my memory of it is not the great. I just have an incredibly horrible memory. What I do remember is the feeling of anger. So much damn anger. At some points, I was drowning in it. I wanted to know what gave the leaders of the Republic of Gilead the right to control a woman’s body. I was mad that Offred went through what she did and I was mad that she had to live with the memories of her past life and become tortured by them essentially. I was mad at the status of women and how horrible they were treated. I was honestly just plain mad.
Okay, onto the reasons as to why this book was actually banned before I drown in my anger again. One of the main topics that seemed to push everybody’s buttons is how it is offensive to Christians. Not that women were treated like utter garbage and used as a walking womb, to quote myself. But that it was offensive to Christians. That seems to show just how much women truly are valued in society. It made me feel sick when I saw that is what pissed everyone off.
Some other reasons that this book is banned: sexually lurid, profanity, defamatory to minorities, god, women and the disabled, violence, hopelessness, age inappropriate, graphic sex, and violently graphic and morally corrupt.
My thoughts on this book being banned are simple. If a book is being banned or attempted to be banned, that means it has some truth to it and truth can make people incredibly uncomfortable. They want to get rid of the thing that makes them uncomfortable. This book and by extension, the TV show, makes people uncomfortable because it reveals a world that is closer than one might think. And that terrifies a lot of people. I know it scares the hell out of me.
Overall, this is a book that, regardless of gender, it should be read. It’s a terrifying book and it still haunts me to this day but it’s incredibly important and it will remain important for years and years to come.
My information came from this Newsweek article.