Offred, also known as June Osborne, is a handmaid living in the Republic of Gilead which is basically a small fictional town located in the state of Iowa. Most of us would obviously know that a handmaid is a female servant that is generally forced to do anything their boss or master commands them to do. Offred is a handmaid for the Commander and his wife Serena Joy but Offred isn't the only handmaid in their household. There are other female servants working there too without any payment like Ofglen, Cora, Janine, and especially Moira who is Offred's best friend from college. All these handmaid's are forced to do sexual intercourse with other men they don't know or even like. This is because the fertility rate in their area is very low so they have to produce babies without giving any consent. In fact, the characters mentioned here aren't their real names but instead the Commander assigns each handmaid a new name for their jobs and they are only to use that particular name in his household. So since the handmaid's don't like their new names, they whisper their actual names to each other while talking in their quarters before going to bed at night. All the handmaid's must find a way to get away from this tragic human trafficking they all have to go through.
I didn't get the chance to get all the way through to the ending of this book because to be honest, the plot got me so uncomfortable. I only read the first few pages of the first chapter and it really got into detail. It got so in depth when it came to the topic of human trafficking. I didn't like it. If it were not about human trafficking in the first few chapters, then maybe I would've kept going with it. In fact, I didn't even want to touch the book because it made me feel more self-conscious at the moment. My freshman English teacher recommended me this book for a school project so it kind of got me into borrowing it at first because I thought it would be a good reading tool to try out. I think this would be a good book to read for a certain age group, such as individuals who are 18 or older, because if younger adolescents were to try this out, they may feel uncomfortable with the topic or consider it too vulgar. I just didn't like the book because I'm only 15 and reading about this in literature isn't my thing since I'm not really used to it yet but maybe once I'm a college student, then maybe I can try reading this kind of literature again. I'm not ready, that's what it is. There is also a series adaptation of this novel on Netflix so I suggest watching it if you're an adult or at least close to being an adult like you're 17 or something since watching it may be worse because of the forced sexual innuendo. Also, if you plan on watching this, I recommend reading the book first so you have a better understanding of this very controversial topic. The book and the series are intense so it can be hard to take in.
Reviewed by Hannah R., Grade 10
Downtown Central Library