Selasa, 16 Desember 2014

The Handmaid's Tale

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Anchor Books (1998)
ISBN: 978-038-54-9081-8
Pages: 311 pages
First Published: 1985
Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee (1986), Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1986), Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel (1987), Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (1986), Prometheus Award Nominee for Best Novel (1987), and many more.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

I know I should do some justification by reviewing this book, see..., it was 3 stars not because it just ordinary book (hence, Man Booker AND Nebula Award Nominee along with other awards), it's actually a really bad story in a good way.... uuhmm, no, it was a very good story in a really bad way... or...  aarrghh, you get the point. The idea was so disturbing, it made me creeps, that's why I can't pass 'Like It' level. For all the dystopian worlds I've ever known, this is the world I wish I would never ever EVER encountered. The harrasment was so badly systematic, massive and planned, there were no fighting chances whatsoever for women. Compairing this to Capitol's world, I preferred District 12 in a heartbeat *yeah, I made an inconsequent comparison, sorry, just saying* ;)

In the setting time not so far in the future, our world environment and polution condition was so severe, most of the children born was malformation or sick. This situation became worse by the adonist way of living. So bad, that one day, a revolution broke loose, and those call government choose to lived in "chauvinistic cavemen" style. First all women are not allowed to go to work, then they are not allowed to have their own property and money, then they are not allowed to read nor to have education and latter, they don't even have the right to have names. Once that established, more and more rules to confine people's life. And not just for women, but also for worshipping and had religions, profession, trading management, reading materials, education, jobs, even courtship and wedding. *love go to hell, human rights... what human rights??*

The main character of this novel was never revealed her true name. She was called Offred, from [of] and [fred], the name of a man she was assign to bore child from, cause she was a Handmaid, a nickname for low class women that main jobs was to carry babies. Through Offred silent scream, readers could feel how to lived in that kind of time. Through Offred hidden memories, readers could see how the world she'd been living changed so much in so little time.

There were some not-so-dark-time in this story, i.e. the times Offred's Commander took her to a secret party in some hotel, where she found her long lost friend *speaking about "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" yeah, here's the true example* or when they just stay up late to play old games, or even something between Offred and Nick that I would have no heart to say it was Love, but most of the time I felt only lonelyness and frustation and the acceptance of despair.

The ending was kind of open end. For the sake of my sanity, I would choose to say that Offred was able to be freed and happy somewhere, eventhough I knew how slim change that could really happened.

* * *

There were so maaaany little things in that novel's idea that piled up into such scary place for me. One friend said that you don't need zombies nor evil ghost nor bloody killers to scare the hell out of you, just an idea, and that's what exactly this book did to me.

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