After thirty-five years of waiting, most of which I didn’t participate in because I wasn’t born yet, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is finally in the world. There’s been a renewed vigor because of the Hulu TV show (which I’ve only seen season 1 of!) but now I will watch the next two seasons. When this book was announced, I knew I needed to reread the Handmaid’s Tale first, and I’m glad I did because it gave me a renewed appreciation for Atwood and I felt primed for this one!
The Testaments takes place approximately fifteen years after The Handmaid’s Tale, but as the historical lecture tells us, that’s hard to date. The story does not follow Offred, just FYI. It’s the stories (“testaments”) of three women: Aunt Lydia (Yes, that Aunt Lydia), a young girl raised in Gilead, Agnes, and a young girl named in Canada, Daisy. Their stories start out separate but intersect in exciting ways that I’ll admit I anticipated but enjoyed nonetheless. Gilead must fall, we know that from the historical nature of the book and the fact that people study it as a historical time, but how does it fall? What does it look like to have an active resistance? In this book we see the end of Gilead, or close to the end, but also the beginning through the eyes of Aunt Lydia, who was there at the very beginning. The plot of this book is a LOT faster than The Handmaid’s Tale but it’s also longer, over 400 pages, but I enjoyed it a lot!
If you’ve seen all of the Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, some of the “surprises” and twists in this book may not surprise you, but I really enjoyed reading the book first and seeing them unfurl on the page. You should 100% pick it up!
Also, this isn’t a spoiler, but I have to include this line that I cannot stop ruminating it. It’s AMAZING, but I won’t even tell you who’s perspective it comes from, you’ll have to read and see. But come on…it’s ugh…amazing.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one most travelled by. It was littered with corpses, as such roads are. But as you will have noticed, my own corpse is not among them.”