The Handmaid's Tale
is a frightening look into a future where the US, now called the Republic of Gilead, is run by religious fundamentalists. In this grim world, women have no right to property, are forbidden to read and write, and are assigned to specific functions. One of them is that of the Handmaid, who is assigned to a family as a means of reproduction.
The story is told through the point of view of Offred, a Handmaid assigned to a prominent family in Gilead. She can still remember a time before the country became Gilead, when she had a husband, a daughter, a job and a home — which was all taken from her. We learn bit by bit about her life, then and now, as she switches from present narrative to past events in an attempt of "reconstruction".
The book is a dystopia about an oppressive regime, but I find that the situation described is horribly similar to what had been and is going on in several parts of the world. It's a five-star material for me because it shocked and amazed me and gave a lot of relevant points to ponder about freedom, gender, religion and fundamentalism. As Offred asks during a prayer: "Oh God... Is this what you had in mind?"
I want to believe that it's not.