Book Reviews

Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Testaments Book Cover
Title: The Testaments Series: The Handmaid’s Tale Duology Genre: Fiction Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Format: eBook Pages: 378 Source: Personal Collection

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 fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” —Margaret Atwood

If you want to see inflammatory reviews, just go look at the reviews for The Testaments on Goodreads. Several people have panned the book majorly, stating that the book wasn’t necessary. I’m here to tell you that while those people might feel The Handmaid’s Tale was fine as it was, it really wasn’t.

What those illustrious readers and reviewers failed to understand was that The Handmaid’s Tale left off with so many unanswered questions. What happened to Offred in the end? Did she survive? Was she ever reunited with her daughter? How long did Gilead exist after Offred’s story ended? How did Gilead fall? We needed answers. This book provided them.

I was ecstatic to hear this book was coming out. I immediately set out to obtain a copy as soon as it was released, although it took me a few days to get to it. This book was amazing. It answered all the questions I had.

The book is written from the perspective of three people – Agnes Jemima, Daisy, and Aunt Lydia. Anyone who has read The Handmaid’s Tale or even watched the series on Hulu knows who Aunt Lydia is. The other two, perhaps not so much. However, if you catch the clues, you’ll figure out who Agnes Jemima is pretty quickly. Yes, there are clues. No, I won’t tell you what they are.

This book had some very interesting twists in it. While I won’t tell you the gory details, just know that Aunt Lydia has a very big role to play in this story. She gives more information about how the “Aunts” got their start in Gilead. She also does some things that might surprise you, considering her role in The Handmaid’s Tale and how faithful she was to Gilead in that story.

Agnes Jemima was pretty easy to figure out once a couple of clues were given, but Daisy took a tiny bit longer to figure out. I had Daisy’s true identity worked out long before it was stated in the book, but it didn’t matter.

There is action and adventure in this book. There is heartache and there are horrors that we see in our world today. You will laugh at some of the antics, be horrified by some parts of the book, and wonder what is wrong with these people in most parts of the book. It’s a must read if you’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale and had any questions about Gilead, Offred, or Offred’s daughter.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars because I honestly didn’t want to stop reading it. I had to know what was going on. I had to see what would be revealed next. I know to get to the end. When I did, I was so happy because even after all this… they still treat Offred and other characters from The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments as though they could be myths. It’s awesome and I highly recommend this book.