THE BOOK: In the Republic of Gilead, we see a world devastated by toxic chemicals and nuclear fallout and dominated by a repressive Christian fundamentalism. The birthrate has plunged, and most women can no longer bear children. Offred is one of Gilead’s Handmaids, who as official breeders are among the chosen few who can still become pregnant.
Regarded as one of Canada’s finest living writers, Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. Her books have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe, and her native Canada, and she has received numerous literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Governor General’s Award, twice. Atwood’s critical popularity is matched by her popularity with readers; her books are regularly bestsellers.
THE CHALLENGES (courtesy of Marshall University):
2013 – Challenged as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School in Guilford County (NC) because the book is “sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt.”
2007 – The Judson (TX) school board overturned the superintendent’s ban of the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum. The review committee of students, teachers and parents had appealed the ban to the school board.
2006 – The Judson (TX) school board overturned the superintendent’s ban of the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum.
2002 – Challenged in Texas due to description’s of sexual encounters.
2001 – Downgraded from “required” to “optional” for the 11th grade summer reading list in Upper Moreland (PA) school district for age inappropriate subject matter.