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Not a patch on the Handmaid's Tale

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-09-2019

To be fair The Handmaids Tale is one of the books that left an indelible mark on me. I read it as young impressionable woman. it shocked me. it left me wondering about the fate of it's characters for many months. it made a huge amount of sense to me that what became of those women, enslaved by a repressive regime, could never have been know to the world. I came to The Testaments with a very unreasonable expectation of revisiting this feeling of having the wind knocked from my chest. No-one, not even Margaret Atwood, can be expected to live up to that. While there were certainly flares of brilliance I confess I found this more like fan fiction. It felt a little like following the spin of politician whose messages are tailored to appease the polls. Everything is far too neat. Many of the actions of characters lack credibility. If I had my time over I think I would have left this unread (or rather unheard). But who am I kidding there is no way on God"s little green earth I would have had the will power to resist. Though honestly I wish Margaret had. The one thing that I did love about it was the redrawing of Lydia's backstory. I did not buy the version offered in the series. Ann Dowd"s performance is wonderful and I do wonder if the Aunt Lydia of The Testaments is not more than a little shaped by the life Ann breathed into what has to be one of the most unforgettable characters in literary history. Now to go back and reread The Handmaid's Tale and regain that sense of wonder.....

A wonderfully empathetic insight

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-2019

I adored this book. It was not all what I was expecting. Beautifully written, Sarah's willingness to be vulnerable and open results in a wonderful window of insight into the life of Sandra and her clients. It is a book that will stay with me and remind me next time I am tempted to judgement that none of us know what the future might hold and how precarious our tenuous hold on controlling the chaos of our lives might be. I approached this book expecting otherness but what I found was surprisingly familar.

Not my cup of tea

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-04-2019

I found this account inconjurous at times, poorly written and one dimensional. I think the great strength of memoir as a genre is that it's allows insight into the lives of others. This felt more of a performance than an authentic accounting of life

Thoroughly original.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-01-2019

devoured this book. the performance is perfect. a powerful idea and language that embroiders the scenes around you. surprising and touching. I have not enjoyed a story so much in a long time.

23 people found this helpful

Mildly entertaining.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-09-2018

I love. good Australian story, but this left me wondering if the.whole.plotline was.not.constructed with a view to trying to capture the lucrative US market. I was drawn in by what I thought was a premise with a lot of interesting potential but in the end the villians were draw from fairly predictable stereotypes. Some of the choices made by the narrator were very odd. laughter in places it did not belong, it really destroyed the.plausability of the central character for me. Mildly entertaining.

Clumsy

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-09-2018

The themes at the core of this work, of cultural displacement, of common humanity, of a failure to value the richness of cultures we view as alien are important. Sadly I found the rendering of characters thin and one dimensional. I like the way if defies generic conventions, but ultimately, I did not believe in any of the characters enough to get emotionally involved in the story. An interesting idea that for me fails in the execution.

3 people found this helpful

Steel yourself to mainline misery and despair.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-09-2018

There are some powerful truths and disturbing questions about the human condition in this story. And I do have to keep reminding myself it is a story. I need to hope that in life there is more compassion, empathy and purposefulness. A work like this surely could only have been produced in a society devoid of spirituality or sense of community. If you are fragile walk away. The dividends this work pays in terms of reflecting truths are not worth skating so close to edge of despair to glimpse. Through it will stay with me for along time, and occupy my thoughts more than it should, I am not sure I would open the door to its demons again.