The Testaments: A Novel
by Margaret Atwood
Hardcover- $17.37

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE

Margaret Atwood's dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid's Tale, has become a modern classic—and now she ...

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  "the testaments" by Carolynr (see profile) 09/30/19

not the best book i've ever read but not the worst. Unlike some others, I didn't fawn over the Handmaids Tale either. That was an interesting read and so was this...just not really what I expected. I kept reading you would find out what happened to Offred when she got in the van. Did I miss something? possibly. This takes place 15 years later and I did not get any clues what happened to her. But it was interesting to read what was going on to bring down the government of Gilead. for me they were both ok reads.
I recommend it for book clubs if they have read the Handmaids Tale and want further discussion of a dystopian society

 
  "The Handmaid's Tale was more creative and developed." by thewanderingjew (see profile) 10/19/19

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood, author; Derek Jacobi, Mae Whitman, Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Tantoo Cardinal, and Margaret Atwood, narrators

This sequel to The Handmaiden’s Tale fell short of my expectations. Of course, in the three and a half decades since the first installment was published, my perspective on literature may have changed as a result of experience, but the book seemed a bit silly in its plot and seemed more for a YA audience than the general public to which the original book appealed.

In a world in which females are second class, there are undercurrents of stress fractures. Gilead may no longer be as viable as was once believed. There are some who are secretly rebelling against the powers that be. Underground resistance organizations have begun to spring up in Gilead and in Canada, which is depicted as the safe haven for those who have escaped and found a place to hide, men and women alike. (It may remind the reader of the days of the draft dodgers who fled to Canada.)

As the story plays out, three women are witnesses telling their stories about the part they played to bring about change and reform to Gilead. One woman is the powerful Aunt Lydia who is in charge of all the Aunts. Behind the scenes, she manipulates others, rewarding or meting out punishments as she sees fit. She seems to be the only female with any ability to hold sway over the powerful Commanders, the men. She has a cadre of women called the Pearl Girls who spy on people in Canada and attempt to proselytize, and practically kidnap unhappy, weak females by promising them safety and nirvana in Gilead.

Then there are two young aunt novices, Agnes and Daisy/Jade who were the offspring of handmaidens. Since handmaidens (women forced to be surrogate mothers) are not held in high esteem, neither are their progeny, and sometimes these children, depending on the status of their adoptive parents, are not able to make exceptional marriage matches. When a match is made, there is one way out for a young girl who is unhappy with the choice. Since Aunts never marry, if they can prove that they want to join them because they find marriage untenable, they may be taken into the fold. They must, however, pass the screenings of the other Aunts. In this way, they avoid marriage to men they do not choose, to men who are chosen for them because of their power and status, because of the status the marriage will confer upon the their family, as well. These two girls will play a pivotal role in the ultimate conclusion of the novel.

The story never quite develops into one that transcends fantasy. Unlike The Handmaiden’s Tale which one could imagine as real, if not surreal, at times, this book seems like pure science fiction. At times, it even seemed a bit silly as when an injured sick young girl with one usable arm, and a girl who had no physical prowess or experience rowing, are suddenly abandoned in a small boat in the middle of the Bay of Fundy under treacherous conditions, and are forced to row to safety. Suspending disbelief did not work for this reader.

If you want a quick read and have been waiting for the sequel, have at it, but don’t expect the level of imagination and creativity that was exhibited in the first novel.

 
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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/31/19

Brilliant sequel that does not let down. Atwood is economical with her words and provides evocatively different viewpoints from the Gilead. I’m not sure how much I would have enjoyed this book if I hadnt read the Handmaid’s Tale first. Both books are strickingly pertinent to current western politics and read as a cautionary tale of the fragility of human rights even in the most democratic countries.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/07/20

Blatant

 
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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 02/29/20

I enjoyed the follow up of the Handmaids tale. It was interesting to read the story from others perspectives. Especially ones that I had thought of differently. It redeemed their characters for me.

 
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  "" by laureensa (see profile) 06/07/20

I read some reviews that did not like this book, but I really enjoyed it. I like that you find out more about what happens after the last book and there is some resolution. The Handmaid's Tale is a more brilliant book but I found this one very satisfactory.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/16/20

 
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