Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Testaments
Series: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Format: eBook
Pages: 378
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Book Review: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight
Authors: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 06, 2019 Format: Hardcover
Pages: 242
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★★★

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

This was another book I read for the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club. I have to say, it was completely different than what we thought it was going to be. Somehow, we got the idea it was going to be some sort of post-apocalyptic or dystopian thing. Instead, we got a very real look, in fiction form, at reality.

Campbell is a white girl from Pennsylvania who has been tossed into a high school in Georgia city. Lena is a black girl who’s lived her whole life in this Georgia city and knows full well how the police and everyone else there sees black people.

During the course of the book, Lena calls Campbell on her naivety when it comes to how the police and black people get along in their city. She calls Campbell on her views about black people. But Campbell calls Lena on her own views about white people.

Campbell is naive when it comes to how other races are profiled and she makes assumptions about the black people she lives around. There is no mistake about that. But her assumptions come more from what her father has said than from her own experiences with those people. Just a reminder that racism is learned/taught, not something people are born with.

Lena, however, is just as bad. She has her assumptions about white people – such as that they are rich. Again, she’s been taught that white people are the way she thinks they are.

The riots in the book are realistic. They are taken almost directly from the news media. They show how things are. They show how even white people can be pulled in and how they can end up seeing things from a different perspective.

There is one things that bugs me about this book – Black. That boy needs a swift kick in the butt. The literal only time he really, truly has Lena’s back is toward the end of the book. I won’t say why/how, because that would be a spoiler. But I will say, I’ll be surprised if you like him. None of us at the book club did.

I gave this book 5 stars because it is a gripping book. It may be slow to start, but that was more of being used to hearing people talk like Lena does rather than reading it. But once you get into the action portions, you’ll forget all about Lena’s style of speaking and be totally sucked in, wondering what will happen.

I think fans of The Hate U Give will really like this book.