Suri Cruise is doing some deep reading for a girl of 13 years old. The daughter of Tom Cruise was seen out with her mother, Katie Holmes on Monday carrying a copy of Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale. The dystopian story inspired the award-winning Hulu original series, and is considered a seminal text of modern feminism.
Suri and her mom were seen in New York City on Monday afternoon, in photos published by The Daily Mail. Holmes carried a coffee and a leather handbag, while her daughter carried her book under one arm.
The Handmaid's Tale is a work of speculative fiction set in a near-future version of the United States. In it, a totalitarian state has taken over the U.S. government, instituting some disturbing political, infrastructural and social changes.
For starters, the population is dwindling in this story due to unchecked pollution and radiation. As a result, women with healthy reproductive systems — such as the main character, Offred — are assigned to produce as many children as possible for the men of the ruling class. The book raises questions of autonomy, ownership and propaganda that still resonate today, nearly 25 years after it was published.
Some are interested to hear that the book is striking a chord with Suri, specifically. Her father is widely considered the public face of the Church of Scientology, an organization that is frequently accused of secretive, sinister actions, including the subjugation of women. Some of these allegations have been detailed in documentaries like Going Clear on HBO, or Leah Remini's series Scientology and the Aftermath.
In fact, as Suri and her mom were out and about in New York City, Cruise was out with Suri's older brother Connor in London, England. The two were reportedly spotted taking a helicopter ride to a big Scientology event. A source told PEOPLE that the public appearance was intended to send a message.
"Tom and Connor stepping out in London was a big deal. It was the same weekend that Scientology does their annual gathering called the International Association of Scientologists (ASI)," the insider explained.
While Cruise has reportedly been to this event "numerous times," this "appeared" to be the first time he had brought Connor. Connor is Cruise's adopted son from his previous marriage to Nicole Kidman. Born in 1995, he tends to stay out of the public eye.
Cruise began seeing Holmes in 2005, and in 2006, Suri was born. The couple got married a few months later, with the head of the Church of Scientology serving as Cruise's best man. Holmes filed for divorce in 2012, and retained custody of Suri.