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Perspective: The tale that keeps getting more relevant

Umid Akbarov

In my youth, I read a great deal of fiction. These days, not so much.

Literary interests change over time, and my current preferences are for biographies, political commentaries, American history, and outdoor adventures.

But I keep seeing and hearing references to one particular work of fiction that was published over three decades ago. Wanting to know just what this book is about, I asked the always-helpful staff at the Genoa Public Library to request an inter-library loan for me. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is the book I anxiously await reading.

The online guide Wikipedia describes it as a story of “subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and suppression of women's reproductive rights.” The synopsis describes the locale as the former United States, which following an overthrow has become the Republic of Gilead, a “white supremacist, totalitarian, theonomic state.”

And why, you may ask, would I have an interest in reading such a bizarre, fictionalized work? I want to explore it because, given the events of recent years, this no longer sounds like a work of fiction.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.

DeKalb County resident Jim Kline grew up in Genoa and earned a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.