Book Review: The Testaments

I feel more than the average amount of self-imposed pressure to capture this novel in enough detail to entice you to give it a read. This book is probably one of the most anticipated sequels in recent years. In 1985, I was a high school sophomore, and this book wasn’t yet assigned reading in our English class, but I remember checking it out from the library as I was a fresh entrant into the adult side of our small town library branch.
I bought my copy of The Testaments, last Tuesday, on release day and had it sent straight to my Kindle. I started it in spurts until Friday morning, then I read for my two-hour flight and then again on my flight home Sunday night. Since then, I caught up with homeschooling, my real job, and have not been able to get the new images of Gilead out of my thoughts. I try not to read any other reviews until after I’ve written mine, but I did happen a couple of snippets where readers complain this book isn’t needed, that Ms. Atwood should have left well enough alone.
I disagree. As a storyteller, sometimes the characters you write aren’t done telling their story. She certainly has had enough time to consider this book and decided that a part two/conclusion was needed. I’m sure that the Hulu TV adaptation prodded her along. I know that if it were my story, I would want to get the ending out there. If the producers ignore it, so be it, but she knows she tried.
Anyhow, should you read this story? Me: Shrugs I say yes. I gave it all the stars on Goodreads. I loved the original book, I love the TV adaptation, I’ve watched a ton of interviews with Ms. Atwood, and I like her too. These books are not straight science fiction or dystopian. She takes facts of our society and then bumps it up a notch. It’s all plausible which makes it so much of a page-turner.
The Testaments are told in a rotating narrative by chapter. Aunt Lydia tells her story, you get a good sense of how Gilead has changed since that van door closed on Offred and you even get more than a bit on Baby Nichole who by now is almost grown. You see life in Canada and Gilead in the I’m guessing 15 or 16 years that have elapsed.
I feel like fans get the full closure this time and at eighty years old Ms. Atwood still knows how teenage girls fell and act. I see that it is shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, so I’m not the only one who enjoyed it.

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative In Good Times and Bad

The book everyone needs to read. Austin Kleon seems to know just what creatives want and need to hear at any given time. Mostly because he is in the trenches with us trying to figure it all out too. Reading his books is like bouncing ideas around with a good friend. It is rather one sided though. 🙂

I requested this book from my library and it was in my inbox this morning much earlier than when Amazon will deliver my print copy this afternoon. I don’t feel like waiting to review/post after my quick five a.m. read, so please excuse the screen shot images. These are my stand out very first impressions:

  • Permission to not be connected at all times. You may not realize how much you need to hear that. Those notifications are the enemy of your creative time.
  • Bliss Station? I’ve read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and a lot of of what David Thoreau has to say and missed this concept in all the places it is mentioned. You’ll need to pick up Keep Going to get Austin’s entire take on the concept but I’ve created a spot like that in my home without realizing that’s what I was doing. I call it my writing nest, but it is a bliss station and my alone time in it is the best time of my day.
  • Point 7: You are allowed to Change Your Mind. Even if you don’t have an artist page social media expects you to be on brand. It’s okay to change your mind about things, have different interests, be off-brand, off line.

This book earns a complete and total thumbs up from me. I may edit and add more thoughts later, but I wanted to get my initial thoughts posted first thing this morning. So many great ideas for what to do when you get stuck, and how to go on creating while your life unfolds around you.

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon