Adapted and illustrated by Renee Nault
This dystopian story follows Offred, a handmaid to a powerful man in a relatively new society based on the Old Testament of the Bible. For many reasons, many of the people in Gilead are infertile, so fertile women are trained and assigned to powerful men for procreation. Offred is sent to the home of Mr. And Mrs. Waterford in the hopes that Frederick Waterford will impregnate her and the family will be able to have a child. Offred manages simple chores with her partner, another handmaid, attends the birth of a child from another handmaid, and navigates a scandalous friendship with Commander Fred. She also shows how Gilead was formed and the torturous training she went through to become a handmaid, as well as ponder often what happened to her daughter and husband she had before the fall of America.
This gut-wrenching story is brought to life with some pretty haunting illustrations. In the original novel, Atwood devoted a lot of space to description and very little to dialog. Offred spends much of her time by herself, lost in thoughts. This format lent itself pretty easily to graphic novel adaptation because the descriptions could be converted into illustrations. Additionally, the original novel jumps back and forth between Offred's memories and her present situation, which is achieved seamlessly in the illustrations. Sometimes, with the original novel, it can be hard to detect the shift into memory, but those challenges are not present in the graphic novel.
Nault also includes illustrations of The Ceremony, where the Commander tries to impregnate Offred, but we never see either of them in full nakedness. The Commander's naked behind is visible, and it's also very clear what is happening to Offred.
Sara's Rating:, 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
Publisher: Double Day
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
ISBN: 9780385539241 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Suitability: Adult, Graphic Fiction, Dystopian, Adaptations
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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