Monday, September 6, 2010

The Handmaid's Tale Readalong

This is the third week of our The Handmaid's Tale read along, hosted by Trish at Classic Reads Book Club.  I am finding it harder and harder to put this one down once I've read the assigned chapters for the week!  We've reached the point where it's becoming hard to tell you anything about the book without spoilers and, because I really hope that you'll pick this one up yourself, I don't want to do that.

The Commander and Offred are spending more and more time with each other and Offred is gradually realizing how to use the power that this affords her (such as asking for hand lotion) but is also acutely aware of the risk involved.  The Commander's Wives are in charge of all the women in their households so if she is caught, the Commander will have no say in what happens to her.  During their time together, the Commander has allowed Offred to read some of his secret stash of magazines--such racy titles as Vogue.

"What's dangerous in the hands of the multitudes, he said, with what may or may not have been irony, is safe enough for those whose motives are...

Beyond reproach, I said.

He nodded gravely.  Impossible to tell whether or not he meant it.

But why show it to me?  I said, and then felt stupid.  What could he possibly say?  That he was amusing himself, at my expense?  For he must have known how painful it was to me, to be reminded of the former time."

Offred discovers that there are others, like her, that are not firm believers in the new ways.  Just knowing this makes her nervous but hopeful. 

In these chapters, we learn more about how the world as it was became the world that it now is.  I'm almost certain at this point that Margaret Atwood, when she wrote this book, had a crystal ball and was looking into the future.  I can't tell you why; you'll just have to trust me that my jaw dropped when I read Chapter 28!

"I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand.  If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult."

Aren't we already headed to a currency free society, what with the almost prevalent use of credit and debit cards?  What happened in this this book almost makes me happy that our most recent economic problems have pushed people back into using more paper money.


  1. I felt the SAME way about the card vs. money thing! I was like ah-ha- I knew reliance on electronic money was a bad idea!

  2. Aww.. I missed this readalong! I'm glad this book is so engrossing! I have to pick it up at some point!

  3. I always want to try a readalong. But there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

  4. I tried Atwood once but had to stop...she's coming to town and I think I will try to see her at a reading. I might want to try again at that point....her writing is solid and I know so many love her work.

    Enjoy the readalong!