“The Testaments” – Margaret Atwood

I was incredibly disappointed by the “The Testaments”…
It didn’t read like a Margaret Atwood book at all, it felt like it has been reduced to the genre of young adult fiction in order to reach a broader public & it didn’t do the “Handmaid’s Tale” justice as a continuation of the story.

Having re-read “The Handmaid’s Tale” right before, I was highlighting dozens of passages in the book, where phrases, expressions & simply the choice of words were absolutely captivating. This was not the case at all for “The Testaments”. Linguistically & stylistically, there was nothing memorable about the story whatsoever. Absolutely nothing. The passages I ended up highlighting were the ones that were so cringe-worthy & shallow, in order to give an insight into what you will have to endure for about 400 pages if you decide to read it:

” ‘I won’t have to marry any man, ever. But what about you? I heard you’re going to marry someone highly important.’
‘I’m supposed to’, I said. I started to cry. ‘But I can’t. I just can’t!’ I wiped my nose on my sleeve.
‘I know’, she said. ‘I told them I’d rather die.’ ” (p. 241)

” ‘Thanks,’ I said dolefully. ‘That makes me feel confident. I’m going to screw this up, I know it.’
‘Keep cool, you’ll be fine,’ said Garth. ‘You can do it. We’re all counting on you.’
‘No pressure, right?’ I said. ‘You say jump, I say how high?’ I was being a pain, but I couldn’t stop myself.” (p. 265)

It was such a pain to be reading through those kinds of dialogues page after page, on & on… I didn’t quite understand whether this was supposed to showcase the talent of a 79 year old writer managing to imitate the way teenagers would speak & write or whether it was written that way out of laziness. I wouldn’t be surprised to stumble across a book like this written by a debut author in the style of “50 Shades of Grey” or “Twilight”, but seeing this being linked to Margaret Atwood, just feels… very wrong.

I actually got the impression as if this book was ghost written. The characters were flat, the dialogues left me annoyed by their banality & I don’t understand how this piece of writing managed to win the Man Booker Prize for 2019. The 2 main female characters were just walking clichés, exaggerations & a portrayal of teenage stereotypes. The unknowing & innocent girl from the secluded “North Korea-like” country & the wild Canadian city girl with a strong character, who falls head over heels in love with the first teenage boy she comes across.

The compelling thing about “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the fact that the world where the story was taking place had some mystery to it. The way it was all laid out & explained in “The Testaments” somehow made it sound much less believable & ruined the whole setting.
There’s nothing I enjoyed about this book & I don’t think that “The Handmaid’s Tale” needed a sequel, so I can only stay with the lowest 1 out of 5 star rating.

★☆☆☆☆ (1/5)

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