When The Testaments came out in September, I ordered it immediately because I could not wait to find out how A Handmaid’s Tale saga concludes. I assumed I would tear through the novel as I do with most riveting literature; however, that wasn’t the case. I finally finished reading it this week, and I must say that it left me with an unsatisfactory taste in my mouth. I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I hoped I would. Here’s why:
- The novel is told from three points of view. This was the number one thing that bothered me about the book. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it difficult to know what I was reading. Our favorite characters from A Handmaid’s Tale are long gone with only a few references to them. It took me about 1/3 of the way in to realize who was speaking. And it took me 2/3 of the way through to realize the significance of these differing points of view. Once I figured it out, it was a smooth, interesting read to the end.
- Atwood mainly focuses on what life is like for our three points of view instead of focusing on what happens to the formidable Gilead (the former United States of America). It left me feeling much like I did after reading the end to the Hunger Games series, slow moving until the last bit of the novel, the actual meat of the story.
- The dissonance felt in the first book did not carry over to the second book. The beauty of the tone of A Handmaid’s Tale is that it creates a strong conflict as we want nothing but good things for the main character knowing that she probably won’t have a happy ending. This book felt almost jovial in comparison.
Was it worth the read? Yes, as it was very well written. I very much enjoy Atwood’s style of writing, seemingly straight forward, but ultimately deceptive. But if I could do it all over again, I would manage my expectations better. I had high hopes for this novel, but it fell short of those hopes.
I’m so anxious to see what other people thought of this long anticipated book. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!