Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in the Graphic Novel format was the last book I read in 2020. While I haven’t read the original long-form, yet, as a reader I could feel that a lot of the story was missing from the graphic novel. Some of the initial pages were slightly confusing as to what is happening. However, the art by Renee Nault is stunning through and through.
Honestly, I didn’t like the story much. Written in the 1980s, it’s set in a futuristic America, where democracy has been replaced by a totalitarian regime and women are treated like properties. They are just birthing/pleasuring machines. The narrative flits between the protagonist’s depressing current life as a handmaid & her former/happier life when democracy still existed. As the story unfolds, the readers are explained that ‘handmaids’ are government properties and are used as birthing bodies for high-ranking men whose wives can’t get pregnant.
When the book started, I thought that the scenes were from some concentration camp, but it was actually a training centre for handmaids, where there are trained to be slaves and birthing machines. I know the tale supposed to be a cautionary tale against patriarchy, but I just couldn’t enjoy it much. The lead character is pitiable and doesn’t do much to remedy her plight. Maybe I’ll have to read the full novel to appreciate it better.