book review fiction

Book Review: The Testaments

I feel more than the average amount of self-imposed pressure to capture this novel in enough detail to entice you to give it a read. This book is probably one of the most anticipated sequels in recent years. In 1985, I was a high school sophomore, and this book wasn’t yet assigned reading in our English class, but I remember checking it out from the library as I was a fresh entrant into the adult side of our small town library branch.
I bought my copy of The Testaments, last Tuesday, on release day and had it sent straight to my Kindle. I started it in spurts until Friday morning, then I read for my two-hour flight and then again on my flight home Sunday night. Since then, I caught up with homeschooling, my real job, and have not been able to get the new images of Gilead out of my thoughts. I try not to read any other reviews until after I’ve written mine, but I did happen a couple of snippets where readers complain this book isn’t needed, that Ms. Atwood should have left well enough alone.
I disagree. As a storyteller, sometimes the characters you write aren’t done telling their story. She certainly has had enough time to consider this book and decided that a part two/conclusion was needed. I’m sure that the Hulu TV adaptation prodded her along. I know that if it were my story, I would want to get the ending out there. If the producers ignore it, so be it, but she knows she tried.
Anyhow, should you read this story? Me: Shrugs I say yes. I gave it all the stars on Goodreads. I loved the original book, I love the TV adaptation, I’ve watched a ton of interviews with Ms. Atwood, and I like her too. These books are not straight science fiction or dystopian. She takes facts of our society and then bumps it up a notch. It’s all plausible which makes it so much of a page-turner.
The Testaments are told in a rotating narrative by chapter. Aunt Lydia tells her story, you get a good sense of how Gilead has changed since that van door closed on Offred and you even get more than a bit on Baby Nichole who by now is almost grown. You see life in Canada and Gilead in the I’m guessing 15 or 16 years that have elapsed.
I feel like fans get the full closure this time and at eighty years old Ms. Atwood still knows how teenage girls fell and act. I see that it is shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, so I’m not the only one who enjoyed it.

By Jenny Naughton

JENNY NAUGHTON and her husband share their 1930's era Chicago home with four sons and a daughter. A voracious reader, Jen reviews books before their release for dozens of publishers on her page: Windy City Reader. Jen also blogs (on WordPress!) about classical, mostly secular, home education at Good Enough Homeschool.
In her spare time, she runs an online book club for teens and helps other home educating family match their kids with the perfect book for them.
You can find Jen misbehaving on social media on
Twitter: @jennynau10

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