Book Review: The Testaments

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Synopsis

“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.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Review

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood was everything I hoped it would be and more. This book was perfection, plain and simple. As I said in my Instagram post, I haven’t been this excited for a book since Lethal White by Robert Galbraith came out exactly one year ago.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of The Testaments. I think that part of why I enjoyed this book so much is because the only thing I knew about it was that it was the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, set fifteen years later. Knowing nothing more going in is what made every page a wonderful reading experience. The most I want to share is essentially what’s in the synopsis; that this book consists of testimonies about Gilead given by three unnamed narrators.

I can’t believe it, but almost didn’t even read this. Around the end of August, the hype surrounding this book was getting a little crazy. With my work and school schedule, I wondered if I would even have time to read it, and if I should just wait until it comes out in paperback and buy a copy and read it then. But I was one of the first people to request it at the library so I got it within days of its release and ultimately decided that I would read it.

I’m so glad that I read it now instead of waiting. I was in dire need of a book by an expert writer that would leave me speechless and The Testaments delivered. There are a lot of good writers out there but simply no one does it like Margaret Atwood.

*spoilers below*


SPOILERS

A few things I can’t stop thinking about since finishing the book:

  • The wry humor sprinkled throughout the book was gold, but the most memorable lines came from Aunt Lydia and Daisy/Jade/Nicole. Most of Aunt Lydia’s funny lines required a second read because they were so sly, and some of Nicole’s lines had me actually laughing out loud. You wouldn’t think this book would have much humor in it but it was there.
  • Was Agnes Jemima and Nicole’s mom Offred? I couldn’t tell and I may have missed something there with the significance of their mom’s identity. I got the sense that it was going to turn out to be Offred but maybe it wasn’t?
  • The story really kicked off for me when it was decided that Daisy/Jade/Nicole would be sent into Gilead. I thought it was an instant death sentence. I actually had to put the book down because I had to process where the story was going to go, as far as the three testimonies soon to be overlapping.
  • My heart dropped when Commander Judd was chosen for Agnes Jemima. I could not stop reading until I knew for sure that she would be saved from him.
  • Back to Nicole…I know she was supposed to be a teenager, but I felt like she did a horrible job of concealing her identity while in Gilead. Hadn’t she learned about Gilead in school and known that she wouldn’t be able to be, well, normal while she was there? When she met with Aunt Lydia and blurted out “Are you the source?” I was sure she had ruined everything.
  • The ending was very satisfying and yet I honestly think I would read another book about Gilead if there ever were to be one. Once again, I found this world to be fascinating and even though the book was long it almost just wasn’t long enough.


Have you read The Testaments yet? What did you think?

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