Like The Handmaid’s Tale? Check these out!

Do you know what the internet is missing? More posts like this /end sarcasm.

Anyway, the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale is on at the moment and so everyone has done a similar post, but there are always more books to recommend am I right?

So, here are a collection of books I think you might like if you’re enjoying the Handmaid’s Tale.

The obvious one to go with is 1984, so instead of including it on this list, I’ll do some honourable mentions first, so you know, if you haven’t read 1984, then you totally should especially if you are a fan of dystopia. Other honourable mentions would go to Fahrenheit 451, the Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy and the Flawed series, which yes, are all YA books, but show a society that are strictly governed. I’d also mention Children of Men, you know, cos the whole no kids being born thing. Anyway, on to the real list.

I’m going to start off with The Giver by Lois Lowry, it’s the first in a series, but I think the book stands well enough on its own. Like the Handmaid’s Tale, we have a very strictly regimented society in which everyone is given a job to do when they reach a certain age. For example, again like in the Handmaid’s Tale, certain people are picked out for giving birth, others are picked out to look after babies which are then assigned to family units. The story follows Jonah who is given the job of keeping all the memories of the world before and with the knowledge he acquires, he tries to escape the society in search of something better.

Second up, The Power by Naomi Alderman, which I only read recently but bloody hell, that was good!
The Power is a novel based on research notes (kind of like The Handmaid’s Tale is a bunch of people analysing Offred’s account of what happened to her.) of a phenomenom that happens to only women and the evidence of it dating back to biblical times. The women in this novel all have what appears to be an extra organ near their collar bone that allows them to shoot electrical charges at will and follows the stories of four people living through more trying times where war is breaking out and women are becoming the more dominant sex. It’s a very interesting novel and raises a lot of questions about what the world would be like if the roles in things like rape culture were reversed.

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, now I wouldn’t normally say this, but I think watching the film immediately after reading the book is highly recommended, I certainly thought the two complimented each other well. This is kind of a deviation because while society as a whole largely appears to be the same as… Well, normal life, there are moments in this where you get the feeling something odd is happening and then when you realise, the subtly makes it all the more haunting.

Next, here’s a sci fi dystopia, Philip K Dick’s Do androids dream of electric sheep? Yes. It is the book that inspired Blade Runner, so I guess you could just watch that because Harrison Ford. Or the new one because Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, but whatever. Like all Philip K Dick’s books, this has a lot of government conspiracy related stuff going on amongst the awfulness of general life. This is the story of a world ruined by nuclear war, it follows Rick Deckard who has to find and take out some androids to earn enough money to be able to have a pet because pets are a status symbol due to mass extinctions following the whole nuclear thing. It also features the whole Turing Test thing which to nerds like me is endlessly fascinating.

Finally, Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil, which if you’ve not read the Handmaid’s Tale would be a great book to read either immediately before or immediately afterwards. I would describe it as being the YA version, but perhaps even creepier because these are all children that are being groomed into the ‘perfect’ female to then either be selected by rich men or be cast out. Also, while it isn’t technically the same genre, you should also totally read Louise O’Neil’s other work because sweet jesus, she is good.

So there you have it, some books to read if you’re enjoying The Handmaid’s Tale.



Never Let me Go

Never Let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro


I’d wanted to read this since watching the film back in January as part of my work placement. (I got to go to a special screening and write a review on it  – it was awesome!) I finally got round to it and it was well worth the wait. Films have a habit of not living up to the books but with this it was as if the book and the film complimented each other and that the story was made so much richer by having them both, even though they do work independently and are both fantastic in their own rights.

Its hard to describe this without giving away the plot but basically it centres around a school of sorts called Hailsham which is attended by Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Narrated by Kathy who is thinking back over certain events, the story follows them from child hood into their thirties. Because I had already seen the film prior to this I was aware of the plot and was struck by how deep and horrific it was especially once things had become obvious and we knew the characters fates. I wanted to see if the book was darker or any more or less explicit, but as I said, it compliments the film because they stay completely true to the original manuscript.
It does go a little deeper because we get a more personal view point from Kathy’s memories but other than that it is pretty much exactly the same.

I loved this, Ive said before that I like dystopian novels and this certainly fits the bill, I love that so much is implied rather than told, its so nice to have your imagination work for a change.

Never Let Me Go has everything I could possibly want from a book. It has interesting characters that I actually found getting under my skin, I hate Ruth. I know she redeems herself in the end but she’s such a bitch! Haha! It has a tight storyline and questions a lot of basic principles. Ethics and Morality in regards to science and human nature feature a lot in this novel and there is the constant flitting between whether Hailsham was good for Kathy and co or not as well as the entire set up, given the choice would you be able to live in a world like that?

Amazingly written, thought out and the whole thing is just so tragic, I was tearing up so many times reading this.
Read it. Now. Like seriously what are you still doing here? Go Go GO!