Rating: 4.5 / 5
THE TESTAMENTS by Margaret Atwood is the author’s follow up to THE HANDMAID’S TALE. Having just refreshed myself on THE HANDMAID’S TALE last month, and after binging the TV show on Hulu, it was the perfect time to continue on with the story.
THE TESTAMENTS is set fifteen years after the end of THE HANDMAID’S TALE. Gilead remains a powerful force in the world, but the resistance is not giving up. The book follows three different women’s stories. The book provides found information and testimonials presented by the characters to piece together the story.
Aunt Lydia remains in power among the Aunts in Gilead, but her loyalty to the cause is not what it may have first appeared. Two younger women are also followed, one grew up in Gilead in the home of a powerful commander. After the death of her mother and the addition of a new stepmother, she feels untethered and fears for what direction her life is taking. The second young woman was raised outside of Gilead with parents who were very opposed to Gilead and all it represents.
I really enjoyed THE TESTAMENTS more than its predecessor I think. Though it is marketed as a book that would work as a standalone, I don’t know that I would have gotten as much out of this book if I had not also read THE HANDMAID’S TALE. This book really does work as a sequel, though in some ways I think it ties back more to some of the drama from the TV show than the first novel.
I think what I liked more about this book is that we are given multiple perspectives, so the story feels a bit more fleshed out. Though this still leaves me with some unanswered questions, it is far less the case than with the rather abrupt ending of the first novel.
I know there was controversy over splitting the Booker Prize last year to include THE TESTAMENTS and feelings that it was perhaps given the award because it was such an anticipated and popular book. I don’t know that I would name this as a top prize novel, but I really did enjoy the read.
#PopsugarReadingChallenge – a book that won an award in 2019