I read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school, and I didn’t ‘get’ it, TBH. I understood it, of course, but it didn’t resonate with me in the way my teacher had hoped it would. It wasn’t until watching the new Hulu adaptation that I was really interested in the story. But I couldn’t understand why my memories of the book were so far from what the show was saying, so I dug out my old copy, still covered in post-its and margin scribbles, and forced myself to give it a second chance.
With my first reading, for whatever reason, I had a very obscure picture of the world Atwood was writing about. I wasn’t able to imagine what it would be like. But, after watching the series, I was able to really picture the world of Gilead, and it made me want to understand it better. So I decided to revisit the book, and I re-read it while watching the show. It completely changed my opinion of the novel, and now I love a book that I once hated.
Although I loved both the book and the series, I can’t ignore their differences. Though both are important and relevant, they have different missions and different lessons. The ideal would be for audiences to read and watch both; they inform each other, each provides what the other lacks. Continue reading