The Testaments

AuthorMargaret Atwood
FinishedOctober 09, 2019
Rating3.0 / 5

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Binged in five hours on the plane. Felt like a very addictive tv show. Nuance in character development was really lacking. Story tied up too nicely such that the story arc felt very two dimensional. Overall felt like this book was rushed and could benefit from a few months of marination. The loose ends tied up too cleanly.

Character Development

  • Agnes - does she never go by her real name Hannah? Also her switch happens so fast. In childhood she had so much potential for nuanced character as a rebellious unloved child. But then in the aunt school she kinda became bland and blank and pious. Once she and Nicole are escaping I almost would expect Agnes, indoctrinated for two decades, to turn against her sister
  • Daisy goes thru so many name changes but it doesn't faze her? To Jade to Nicole ... She just takes it. Also after she goes to Gilead she never once thinks of Melanie and Neil (who raised her for sixteen years). Kind of weird - and the obsession with finding the "real mother" who neither had thought about at all until then
  • Aunt Lydia came across as very nuanced but I would have loved to hear more of her many complex thoughts. She was still too two dimensional. For example how does she reconcile the pain of torturing handmaids and willingly subjecting them to abuse while "saving" one or two girls a year to join the Aunt school?
    • "I've become swollen with power" (32) but not much showing of how she got involved with resistance and was there a change of heart for her to do so? This isn't very well explored. Just seems like she was torn but wanted to help women the whole time. Doesn't seem like Aunt Lydia really changes at all in her worldview of things, which sucks - "all of this power. All of this potential to judge the wicked in silence" (309)
    • Lydia wants to mete justice for women. But like selectively and only after her power and secuirty is guaranteed Also weird that handmaids are so coveted and yet they are labeled sluts and also that their children are also unfairly tainted ... Should they be considered that they are the "legal" child of the commander and wife thru God or something? Seems contradictory.
    • "over the years I've buried a lot of bones" (5)

Quotes I Liked

  • "books were decorations, like vases of flowers" (14)- "Bibles brood in the darkness" (35)- "unfurl like a toxic flower" (143)
  • "how tedious is a tyranny in the throes of enactment. It's always the same plot" (143)
  • "a thousand such kisses later and my skull would be emptied of brain" (226)
  • "innocent men denying their guilt sound exactly like guilty men" (279)
  • "no one wants to die. But some people don't want to live in any of the ways that are allowed" (294)
  • "she smelled right. It was like an echo, of a voice you can't quite hear" (399)
  • "torture is like dancing: I'm too old for it. Let the younger ones practice their bravery." (404)