‘The Testaments’ was the most anticipated book of 2019. Fans of the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ have waited thirty-five years to find out what has happened to Offred and The Republic of Gilead. Atwood delivered what she promised, but not everyone who has read it is satisfied with it. There is a lot of criticism for the story being too predictable and unnecessary, and that readers would prefer to stay in the ‘unknown’ and make their own endings and predictions on what could have happened to oppressed women of Gilead.
Part of the story is told from Aunt Lydia’s point of view. We see her in a different light as Atwood explains how she ended up in Gilead and became the most powerful woman in charge of Handmaids and other Aunts. Aunt Lyndia was extremely smart, she was a judge in her past life and she knew that there is no point in trying to escape or fight against the new regime, at least not out loud. She knew that in order to win this war she will need to risk her life quietly and not to trust anyone.
The other part of the story is told by two teen girls – one growing up in Gilead and the other in Canada. It is very easy to understand who they are, and I think that is where the criticism is coming from. The twist is too easy, but again this was not the point of ‘The Testaments’. Throughout the whole story, Offred’s name has not been mentioned once but it is very straightforward to understand who those teen girls are and the way their paths have been crossed was a page-turner to me.
‘The Testaments’ is indeed full of answers and secrets of how three very brave women were fighting right in the lion’s den to provide a better world for women and children and that tyranny and oppression will not last forever, as long as you are ready to take action and speak up. Atwood has definitely changed my mind about Aunt Lydia and provided answers to many challenges we are facing right now.