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The Testaments

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

When Offred was put into that black van, readers didn’t know if she was taken by The Eye, Mayday, if she was killed or escaped. This novel tells the story of what happened after Offred was “captured.”

Starting more than fifteen-years later, we get the testaments of three female narrators of Gilead: A leader of women, a supplicant and an escapee. Together their story weaves the tale of Gilead and its eventual fall.

I’ll admit, I didn’t re-read The Handmaid’s Tale before reading this book. I did, however, read a detailed synopsis just so the main events were fresh in my mind. As a sequel, I didn’t feel like I really needed this book. I almost liked having the “what if” questions that the first book left us with. As a standalone, it was a fine story and I enjoyed reading it.

One of the things I did like about this book was Aunt Lydia’s recollections of the coup and the rise of Gilead. This is something you don’t get much of in the first book and I liked seeing how it happened from Aunt Lydia’s perspective.

I also felt a little at odds with the ending. Did anyone else think things were cleaned up a little too easily? I thought there’d be more resistance, more roadblocks in the plot’s resolution. For the story it was a sequel to, I just thought it ended a little too cleanly. Then again, that could be because the book was written in the form of confessions and witness statements.

I totally did not need the decades later, conference type study at the end. I know this is supposed to hearken back to the way the first book ended but I just didn’t need it on my end as a pleasure reader. If I were to study and write a paper on the book, then I am sure I would have much more to say about it.

Overall, I am glad I read this one. It gets a solid three stars from me.

That’s all for now!


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