For this month's book review I wanted to talk about an oldie but a goodie: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
The Handmaid's Tale tells the story of a dystopian society, the Republic of Gilead, through the narrator, Offred. The world Offred depicts is a sad, misogynistic, racist, and homophobic one where marriages are contractual and children are born through third party concubines, or handmaids, like Offred. Gilead was founded through a staged terrorist attack that kills off most of the senior-ranking members of the US Government (including the President and many members of Congress) which led to the adoption of a theocratic military dictatorship headed by a extremist Christian cult. Many of the institutions and names in the book are biblical (for example, the handmaids are trained at the Rachel and Leah Center), which goes to show how extreme religion of any kind can really slow progression of a country.
I remember first reading this novel for a philosophy class in University. I literally finished the book in an entire day and did no homework for any other class because this book was just that interesting! I can't even imagine a world where I would be treated like a second-class citizen because I'm female. Where my marriage would be arranged and if either myself or my husband were infertile, the blame would be on me and I'd be forced to sit in on a "ceremony," watching my husband have sex with another woman so we could have children. Because that would be the law of the land. Just wow.
I can't recommend this book enough to you guys - it's one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking books I've read in a while.