The Handmaid’s Tale is a terrifying look into a not-too-distant future where nearly everyone is sterile and fertile women are treated as cattle, to produce children for the upper class who cannot have any. Women have no rights and are completely dependent on men – they cannot own property, have money, hold jobs – they aren’t even allowed to read. Offred, the heroine of the story, can remember a time before the military took over the government, and these memories sustain her while she plans her escape.
Although written about the future, The Handmaid’s Tale is chillingly similar to recent history in Afghanistan and Iran as well as older references to Nazi Germany. Frequently challenged and banned for it’s sexually explicit language and for being “offensive to Christians”, it is a cautionary tale of what happens when basic freedoms are denied.
Celebrate your freedom to read – do not take this precious democratic freedom for granted! Visit the American Library Association’s site on Banned Books Week for more information.