Micro-Review: Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments” by Brittney Uecker

“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood, the long-awaited sequel to her 1985 dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, is just as riveting as the original, but elevates its themes of resilience and sisterhood in the face of brutality. This book is told through three interwoven tales of women placed on various sides of Gilead – one on the outside, one on the inside, and one who never knew the difference – that start on different planes of existence, but all begin to steadily navigate towards a collective goal. The story is told on many levels that jump between perspective and across time in a way that forces the reader to shift quickly, but reinforces its overall quest. This book definitely does not operate as a stand-alone – “The Handmaid’s Tale” is necessary preparatory material to “The Testaments”, not only to understand the complex system of Gilead and its players, but to prepare the reader for the horrific brutality and overt sexism of this near-futuristic world. The difference, however, is that “The Testaments” reveals the cracks that have formed in Gilead, and shows that while it was originally engineered to put men at the helm, it is the women who are now very much in control and hold the fate of this society in their hands.

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