I read this when it first came out, more than 20 years ago. I didn't have the perspective or wit to understand it very well, but I found it spellbinding anyway.
Rereading it has been valuable, to say the least. Especially given how much more attention I'm paying these days to politics. So: are we stripping women of their rights by reducing them to their reproductive organs, or reducing them to their reproductive organs by stripping them of their rights?
I remember feeling devastated by the afterword the first time I read the novel. It happened again this time, and I'm in a better position to see why. I won't say much since it really is a surprise, but I do know that Atwood was a university professor at the time she was writing this novel, and you can tell how closely she was listening to her colleagues. These last few pages were the only possible words that could have made this book even more devastating than it already was by virtue of its premise. I felt as if the narrator's life had been dismissed and destroyed once again, this time by the sort of people she should have been able to count on for sympathy and assistance.