1986, 311 pages
What a thought-provoking book!
Offred (Of Fred) is a woman who had her child and all her money taken away from her by the government. Her money was taken away just because she was female. Her daughter was taken away because her marriage was declared invalid. Why? Because it was the second marriage for her husband. The government has “religious” motivations for these acts. (Something I was a little uncomfortable with because I am a Christian, yet I realize there are always extremists. I took this as a cautionary tale.)
Spoiler alert! (Don’t read if you like to be in suspense during a book.)
Things only get worse from there. She is forced to become a handmaid, or surrogate mother, for a man of high position in the government. However, the conception is to occur in the normal way–with the wife present! This was a little shocking to me! Somehow Atwood pulls this off without offending my prudish sensibilities. The life of Offred is certainly not enviable.
I found this book to be a jolt to my system. Atwood is a gifted writer, and I definitely plan on reading more of her works.