Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I was about 20 years old

When I first picked up a copy of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which at the time had recently come out in paperback here in the States, it had a profound affect on me at the time, so much that 30 years later I still have my copy, and I remember the details of the story very well. This was before it was taught in schools and colleges, but it made me think about our lives as women in a way my textbooks did not. Even though at the time, I identified with Offred, the protagonist, I realised early on that my lot in their world--and certainly now, would be at best a Martha (a drudge), but more than likely cast away to the poisonous colonies. Certainly I was more biddable and less likely to be uppity or a rebel then, but still, in retrospect I could not have survived as a Handmaid, and even at 19, I'd been told it would be unlikely that I could ever have children (not, incidentally, by the doctor who did the tests, but rather some nurse or other random person in scrubs who had no business breaking it to me as bluntly and off-handedly as she did).

Even so, I have never felt that Gilead and its dystopian society were ever so possible as now, so I'm glad they're taking the story and popularising it for a greater audience, and so well. It's uncomfortable, sometimes horrific, but it should be seen (and read). I highly recommend both book and show, and it should be discussed. In the book, I remember the epilogue to the story was an academic conference looking at how this could come to be. I hope readers out there won't skip over that part. It's important.

Okay, that's all for tonight. I should get to bed. Good night.

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