“Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
The future fucking sucks.
That's one of the lines from the promotional posters from The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu, and it's a good way to set the tone between the two works. While they both carry the same chilling version of a Dystopian (but still too close to home to be comfortable) future, the series has more of an aggressive tone, more of a willingness to bring it's evils down. The most noticeable of impact of that is June. Or, I should say, Offred. Because in the book, we never really learn Offred's true name, while in the series we receive it on the first episode.
They are different, but both of them are amazing interpretations. I recommend fans of the book to watch the show and fans of the show to read the book. I really loved both.
Back to our main character, Book Offred is very passive. Almost infuriatingly so, at times, until you remember she is simply a product of the extremely oppressive society that surrounds her. She has barely any fight left on her, because it was dragged away. And she is pale in comparison to other characters in the book, other man and other women, because Offred shows how deep the bleak world can cut someone who is simply normal (tv series Offred is tougher, because otherwise the series would be a little too slow for 10 chapters).
“Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some."
The Handmaid's Tale is a bone chilling book, a future where all minorities get permanently crushed under the boots of the ruling ones, but the true horror of the plot doesn't come on what's spoken. It comes on the chill horror of that which we never know. What happened to that one character? Where does the road lead, in the ending? We never know, and that's even more terrifying. Because our minds can take a hint. All we can conjure by our own is scarier than what the author could have told us.
This book is very topical. It was topical in 1985, and it's topical now. The true scary beings aren't the ones that are hidden under our beds, it's the very real ones that cross the street in front of us everyday. Not all humans are monsters, but all monsters are human.
The biggest character in the book isn't even our narrator. It's the unity. The unity of those that choose to fight against the power that holds them down, with very small gestures, or even bigger gestures. But still, they stand. It cannot end well. But it's better than no action at all.
“I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.”
Sentence: There isn't much I can say that hasn't been said before. But this is an amazing book, it's terrifying in the most subtle way, and it will jump at you when you're least expecting it. When it does... enjoy the ride.