Customer Reviews for

The Handmaid's Tale

Average Rating 4
( 1168 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(491)

4 Star

(359)

3 Star

(163)

2 Star

(84)

1 Star

(71)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

41 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

read it and take it as a warning

Everyone should read this book. Period. Take it as a warning, of what CAN happen in the U.S., if religious extremism is allowed to infiltrate our society, and if Church and State don't stay separate. And keep in mind that Atwood took the social/political circumstances i...
Everyone should read this book. Period. Take it as a warning, of what CAN happen in the U.S., if religious extremism is allowed to infiltrate our society, and if Church and State don't stay separate. And keep in mind that Atwood took the social/political circumstances in the book from real situations that have happened or are happening somewhere in the world. The writing pulls the reader in, and even though the subject is terribly depressing, you just can't quit reading it. Now that I've finished it, I can't quit thinking about it. I want to read about it, and talk about it, and read more by the author. But I won't read it again for a long time, because it's plausibility is just too disturbing. Any author who can instill such strong emotions in her/his readers is a very talented writer.

posted by constantreaderML on April 20, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

Don't get your hopes up...

This sounded like a really good book to me, with an author whose poetry I had read and liked, and a detailed distopian world, all the rave reviews and everything. It wasn't. A Handmaid's Tale tries for the realistic tone of Orwell and Huxley, but falls short so much tha...
This sounded like a really good book to me, with an author whose poetry I had read and liked, and a detailed distopian world, all the rave reviews and everything. It wasn't. A Handmaid's Tale tries for the realistic tone of Orwell and Huxley, but falls short so much that it made me feel embarrassed for her. It doesn't sound like a voice from a dark future so much as the ravings of someone who is blinded by their own over-the-top fantasies and fears. There were various places where I thought, yes, this is starting to feel right, maybe it will turn into an interesting story now- only to turn the page and watch it stumble back into the same rut. The mindset of women being victims is carried too far in this book, to the point where you constantly want to slap the narrator and tell her to stop whining and do something about it already. The concept of the enforced transition from a modern lifestyle to the one the book depicts in a single lifetime is not portrayed in a believable way, and though I imagine many people will get something from it, intelligent and open-minded women may want to skip this one, because it's not saying anything you don't already know.

posted by Anonymous on June 5, 2005

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 4
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Review by a high school student

    The Handmaid's tale started out okay. It was vague,mysterious, and intriguing. However, after reading about 100 pages, I could not make myself read anymore. I am all for maturity, but it got extremely vulgar. In fact, I have never read such a crude, disgusting book in my life. This was a school assignment, but I cannot continue reading this trash. The book makes a good point about when Scripture is taken out of context, but the means that the author uses to accomplish this goal is distasteful and way out of line.

    10 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    Garbage

    Tripe

    5 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    This book sucks

    This book is so depressing, and I hate how it takes a whole page to describe how a candlestick looks. I would not recommend this book to ANYONE

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2001

    What was Atwood thinking???

    The Handmaids Tail: there isn¿t much you can say about a book like this one. While reading this book I came across many different aspects. Offred is a character like I have never seen before. Walking around in a delusional, confusing world and telling stories, which may or may not be true, are the only things Atwood gives us to get to know this boring protagonist. This book contains a few high points, which seem tremendously sexual and graphic. In any other book, these events would not seem so horrific. Dull, unexciting pages proceed and follow the detailed descriptions of the relationship between the ¿ Commander¿, his not so lovely wife, and Offred. The heightened images make you just that much more confused and the rest of the two hundred eighty pages seem even more uninteresting. I never got into the book because it never hooked me. The more I read, the more confused I got. Offred would tell a story and then all of a sudden she says the whole story was fake and made it up. Her story was at least a chapter long, so you basically read the whole chapter to hear nonsense. Puzzlement fills your mind and you begin to wonder how everything the main character says is even relevant to the plot. I do not recommend this book. The Handmaids Tale never caught my attention. If you feel the need to read this book, be my guest! Just be ready for a great nap. It truly put me to sleep!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2014

    I¿ll preface my review by saying that I couldn¿t get through ¿Th

    I’ll preface my review by saying that I couldn’t get through “The Handmaid’s Tale”. The whole idea of the way the society is structured was just too ridiculous for me and coming from someone who likes zombie books that’s saying a lot. I enjoyed the way the book jumped between the present and giving glimpses of the past, but getting more than 50% through the book and not really knowing what happened to make the world transition was annoying. Also through the first half the author does a good job of putting you in the story but the story doesn’t really move anywhere. I was going to continue through and finish it but then I realized I don’t like the books so I should spend my time reading something I would actually enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 12, 2014

    I was expecting something different. There were so many questio

    I was expecting something different. There were so many questions left unanswered. I finished the book just to finish it. Don't waste your money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 15, 2013

    Incredibly hard to read. The prose and pace are ridiculous. And,

    Incredibly hard to read. The prose and pace are ridiculous. And, obviously this book is meant to brainwash those who are easily influenced. Someone has a deep fear of Christianity to come up with this drivel. It made no sense at all for this to be even slightly plausible to ever happen in our future. But then again, I never thought we would be a nation as divided as we are today either; our constitution and Bill of Rights under attack and most of it being completely ignored. I digress, back to the book. I have read myriad books my entire life and have never loathed a book as much as I did this one. The writing style was one I have never seen before and I am sure now I know why.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing Dystopia

    I'll start off this review by saying I love reading dystopian novels. I also don't mind stream of consciousness writing, which is the style used in this book. However, while Atwood had a very good concept for a novel, it was poorly, poorly executed. In this American future, society has been based around the Bible story in which a handmaid is impregnated by a husband whose wife cannot conceive. Every woman in this new society has a very specific role, and none of it is very interesting. Thus, following our protagonist Offred, a handmaid, through her relatively boring life becomes excruciatingly painful in its banality. Offred's continuous bounce back and forth from reality to her memories make for a very confusing read with a lot of attempts at insightful prose. There is so much fluff and so little plot line in this novel, that about halfway through I began skipping all her recollections and half-page long descriptions of the garden just get to the meat of the story. It was passages like this that made me want to shake Offred: “The Commander is the head of the household. The house is what he holds. To have and told hold, till death do us part. The hold of a ship. Hollow.” And also a lot of: “Here’s what I like to tell.” “This is the story then.” “Here is how it goes.” Not to mention an entire passage about her encounter character, just to have her say, “I made that up. It didn’t happen that way. Here is what happened,” and the whole situation is repeated again. Sadly, I really, really wanted to like this book. I’d heard so many great things about it, but in the end, between the author’s choppy prose, no explanation of how society could go from normal to extreme without any opposition, and a completely unsatisfying ending, I could not convince myself to like something this terrible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Too many unanswered questions.

    I simply dd not like it too many unanswered questions. The mechanics of the writing was often hard to follow sometimes when a character was speaking there were quotation marks, other times nothing.

    I feel as the author just cut us off and left me as a reafer going, well what happened. I needed more closure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Disturbing

    A story. Some characters. Short, stilted writing. Absolutely horrible. I hated every page... and the ick factor is incredible.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Ugh

    Terrible. Wouldnt recommend reading. The writing was awful and the story fragmented. The ending was supposed to make you ponder the story, but it was stupid.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Hard to follow

    Great story line but so difficult to read!! Could be written in so many ways to appeal to a wider popular audience! Just when it was starting to get good it would change direction and lag again. Very dissapointed! More like a rough concept draft that could be used to base the real book on or even a movie but as is it was missing so much I didn't enjoy it! It should have pissed me off or at least scared me but it just left me wanting more!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    This was not a good book. I've heard about this book for years.

    This was not a good book. I've heard about this book for years. l love sci fi/ alternative worlds and was really looking forward to reading it. It was a total disappointment. The narrator rambled too much. There was no real plot or storyline just a lot of intangible thoughts scattered throughout 200+ pages. I read the entire book thinking that in the end it would make sense. It didnt. It left me with a lot of questions, no closure or better understanding of how and why this society existed. This book was written in 1985 - after the civil rights of the 60's and the women's liberation in the 70's- which makes me want to ask the author what is your point? It was like she wanted to erase these civil rights and feminist movements or blame them for shaping the future - a future that resulted in the Nation of Gilead. At one point the narrator even says it - be careful what you wish for when discussing her feminist mother. I found it very hard to believe that a feminist movement lead to an all white male dominated world where women had no rights.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Not for me

    Writing was odd. There was bizarre sex but no real love story. Not much of a moral... generally depressing. And the only thing i hate worse than a sad ending is no endiing at all. Unresolved.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2011

    The handmaiden

    llpw

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    Awful - don't bother

    This is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The writing style is choppy, albeit descriptive. I'm sorry I wasted my money on it.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    BIG Disappointment!

    Terrible book. Worst than book ever! I hated this book! DO NOT READ. waste of time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Had to put it down

    To be honest I really could not get into this book and put it down unfinished to start on a new book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 4, 2010

    Trying to convince myself to finish - UGH!

    Is this the author's first book written in English? UGH! I'm not sure if I am supposed to get a headache every time I (force myself to) continue reading this book! Is this based on some society that has never known freedom or had rights - it's not only BORING, it is ridiculously unbelievable. I keep reading with the hope that it will get better. A great dissappointment after reading "The Help". Unless you are interested in mental torture (in that the plot and character will actually lead you somewhere interesting), then this is not the book for you...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2001

    Handmaid's tale not worth the agony

    Here we go again. Yet another crooked and disturbing tale of a government gone wrong. I¿d like to say this book is unoriginal and written in a standard George Orwell type format, but it is quite the contrary. In fact, it is a bit too unique. Atwood replaces standard and unoriginal with boring and confusing. In addition to a practically non-existent plot and lifeless characters, therein lies a tangled web of unending confusion. The reader spends most of their time simply trying to figure out just what in the world is going on. The vague plot centers around the main character, Offred. Offred has a special job¿I say special because I am using a euphemism for creepy and disturbing. Once a month she is forced to participate in a special¿there¿s that word ¿special¿ again¿ceremony. Her sole purpose in life is to become pregnant. This is pretty much it. Other than exactly what I have just described, the book completely lacks any trace of a real plot. All the characters in the book do is walk around. Occasionally¿for an added bonus¿Offred will toss in an entirely random and confusing story, which has nothing to do with anything. The audience spends half the time wading through pages of senseless and dull paragraphs. In a nutshell, the 295-page novel is made up of about 230 pages of mind-numbingly dull, sixty pages of strange and confusing, and five pages of disgusting, graphic, and unnecessary. If I had to describe this book in five words or less they would be as follows; boring, disturbing, lifeless, twisted, and confusing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 4