The Handmaid's Tale Graphic Novel
Writing - 9/10
Art - 8.5/10
Overall - 9/10
User Review( votes)
Writer: Margaret Atwood
Artist: Renee Nault
Maturity Rating: Mature
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Release Date: March 26, 2019
The terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before.
This follows the story of a Handmaid in the Rebuplic of Gilead, Offred. This is a time where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order, she has only one purpose: babies.
It’s One of the Things We Fought for In The Handmaid’s Tale
Living in the Commander’s house, Offred is to stay out of the way, not hold a job, nor read, or even have friendships. She must abide by the rules. Under the new social order, women only have one purpose: once a month, they must lie on their back and pray that their “Commander” makes them pregnant. Offred and the other Handmaids are valuable only if they are fertile. Yet, she remembers the years before all of this, when she was independent, had a job, a family and a name of her own. This is the Handmaid’s tale.
The Handmaid’s Tale is quite gut-wrenching. This was written by Margaret Atwood and now is a Hulu original. I was not one to watch the TV series as it came out. I have seen the book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble multiple times, though I could never get myself to buy it. This graphic novel was a wonderful substitute. Now, I am not too sure if this is the whole story, yet it definitely gave me an idea of what the book might have been about. The style of the graphic novel, when it came to writing, was well thought out and really hit you emotionally.
The writing for this was executed in a couple of different ways. You had specific boxes to show when Offred was thinking to herself. These were filled with such dark and unnerving questions, thoughts and contemplation from the main character. You could really feel and understand what she was going through. This brought me back to similar feelings I had when watching anything that was Holocaust-related.
You then had some specific black boxes with one of the “Aunts” that would pop up giving advice to the women when they are being patrolled. It was like a constant battle between these two different dialogues. On one hand, she is trying to understand how to get through all of this, yet you feel her pain, wishing she would run, and on the other is the Aunt telling her how she should behave. Remarkable!
Lastly, you had the regular bubbles that were just dialogue that was said out loud.
As far as the art goes in The Handmaid’s Tale Graphic Novel, Renee Nault does a fabulous job. It is unique, classy, and simple. The linework is simplistic yet gives just enough detail so that you know what the surroundings and characters look like. The color was also quite complementary. It almost looked like it was meant to look like watercolor. I absolutely loved how ornate the house that Offred lives in looks and then the way that her room is portrayed is dark and dismal with a splash of red.
All of this was really eye-catching and I enjoyed the art. It helped bring the inner dialogue of Offred out with more ease. You could really see the pain and blank feelings that she must have been going through on her face.
Another thing that I enjoyed was the way the text was placed throughout the graphic novel. As I mentioned earlier, there were some boxes designated for certain situational dialogue. Such as, inner dialogue with herself and also remembering what an Aunt would say to the women as a whole. There was also inner dialogue text that wasn’t placed in boxes, yet would follow the character and be placed around the picture in an artistic fashion.
The Handmaid’s Tale Graphic Novel was such an incredible read as well as being a punch in the gut. What if this could potentially happen? What the women were going through was horrific. I am not sure if I really understood or if they say what time frame this takes place in. Yet, a lot of the items, houses, cars, and especially their clothing looked dated. From doing some research it looks like Atwood wrote this novel in 1985. Which I then read that the story was referencing 1970s lifestyle.
If you are not a huge book reader or would like to just know what the story is about I highly recommend picking up this graphic novel. The story goes quickly and it encompasses such a unique emotional reaction for the reader that you are able to pick up the gist of it quickly. This may even be the gateway to watch the TV show or read the book.
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