The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
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In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
One word to describe this book would be disappointing; this novel was not needed at all. I pre-ordered my book last fall and I was so excited to read it. I had high expectations of how wonderful I thought it would be based on The Handmaid’s Tale. I avoided as many spoilers of the book as I could, but I was severely let down. This book turned out to be a huge disappointment.
I feel like this novel was published in order to appease the fans of the TV show only. I was content with how The Handmaid’s Tale novel ended, leaving the reader with more questions and letting them speculate about the fall of Gilead and fill in the blanks that Atwood left. I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in the summer of 2015 and fell in love with it instantly. It was recommended to me by a friend who read it for one of her university classes.
The Testaments followed more closely with the TV show than I originally thought. I was under the impression that this book would have nothing to do with it, and would be a true sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale novel. I watch the TV shows and am currently waiting for the newest season to premiere, but for those who are not caught up or watch the TV show would be confused as to who Agnes and Daisy/Baby Nichole are.
Atwood’s twists and the ending of the novel were predictable to me. From the start, I told my boyfriend that Daisy would be Baby Nichole. When that plot twist was revealed I screamed “I knew it” and was about done with the novel. I pushed on hoping and praying that it would get better, but I was let down.
The only redeeming quality of this novel was Aunt Lydia’s perspective. I felt the most invested during her parts and I was hopeful that the novel would redeem itself. Aunt Lydia’s parts made the novel only slightly more bearable as I found her perspective to be lacking.
Daisy/Baby Nichole and Agnes parts were by far the worst of the novel. These characters were flat and had no dimension to them. I was bored quickly of them, and I felt as if I was re-reading the same part over again as it was repetitive. These two characters read like one character.
I believe that Atwood attempted to have these two characters act as foils against each other. These characters were meant to show the reader how different Gilead and Canada are from each other as these two girls were raised in two different worlds. Agnes and Daisy/Nichole are supposed to be approximately 8 years apart, but they read like one character. When I was reading the novel and came to their perspectives, I had to carefully see who was telling the story as they read almost identical. I had higher hopes for this novel as Atwood is considered one of the best Canadian writers. I think that I’m done reading novels by Atwood for a while if this will be her new writing style.
I gave this book a 2/5 on my Goodreads page. This book deserves to be drunk with either your worst type of tea or with a glass of wine. I don’t recommend reading this book, it’s better to let yourself picture what happened at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Let me know your thoughts on this book in the comments!
Cups of Tea:
Wine or your worst black tea (Mine’s Orange Pekoe)
McClelland & Stewart
September 10, 2019