I talked so much about this audiobook while listening to it it that when it came time to write a review there were no words left.
Imagine a world of victorious Christianity with a touch of Communism. The slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his labor” was realized here verbatim.
The husband is the head of the family, but the wife is the mistress of the house and all its inhabitants. Each member of the “family” does his or her own work – cooking, cleaning, driving, and some of the children. It is the latter that is called “maids” – they serve for the good of society and families. If you “idle” for a year in three different families, you are recognized as “not a woman” and sent to the colonies. For any slip-up, they send you to the colonies.
This book is scary and horrible even not so much for the details of her life, her world, her general corneredness. It is terrifying to read in the context of modernity. The only difference is the timing of the introduction of “innovation.” In the novel, everything happened quickly – from a generation that went to the beach in bathing suits and kissed on first dates, made a society in which the hint of a figure and a look in the eyes is a terrible sin, having children became work, and the death penalty for touching.
People were not given time to gradually adapt to the new conditions – first the abolition of legal abortions, the introduction of the death penalty, then the reduction of highly educated personnel, religious education in schools. And then, you can gradually deprive women of property rights, introduce a tax on childlessness, and give them in marriage by conspiracy – anyway, they are already uneducated, they do not understand what they are deprived of.
This world, described over 30 years ago, frightens me with its reality. Even though radical Christianity is still being brought in on a separate territory in the city of Gilead (a sort of experimental zone), the tacit consent of the world community to such experiments is a very real thing.
I wish that men would not read this, that they would not adopt these ideas, and that women would read every single one of them and think about how much we have and how it would be good to preserve it! So they wouldn’t get married with their pretty eyes and neat beard, they wouldn’t demonstrate for wearing hijabs, and they wouldn’t give birth at home, killing themselves and their child!