I was not particularly impressed with this book. Now, since this book is known as a feminist book, your first thought is probably, ‘that’s because you are not female’ and sure. It’s a world in which the women are stripped of all rights except producing children, and how evil that is. The problem is that the way the narrator fixates on sex and children, it is pretty clear that the is all she really does care about. Even the one female who puts up resistance, Moira, has given up after one failed attempt. The only actual rescue, according to the epilogue, has to be arranged by a man. Really?
By all accounts, the modern TV show does a much better job of it, making our protagonist a leader of the resistance. However, I have not seen the show. My overall impression of the book is a world written solely to justify feeling a victim as a female. Men are evil, it says, look what they would do if they got their way! Everything is terribly depressing and ugh. I feel highly skeptical about how easily and quickly this society got setup as well, the weakness of the world-building makes all the lessons it is supposed to teach feel weak as well. How did this become a classic book?
Well, I went to Amazon reviews to answer these questions. Firstly, I took heart in a lot of people agreeing with me on these points. It seems the positive reviews are mostly from those people who enjoyed the emotional feel of the hopeless nightmare. Or at least it otherwise felt powerful to them. Personally, I think I could have gotten the point made with a chapter or so of it, before moving onto exploring the world in further depth, and making things happen.