Tag Archives: Book Club

Review: The Testaments

The Testaments

The Testaments
By Margaret Atwood
Nan A. Talese, 9780385543781, September 2019, 432pp.

The Short of It:

A solid follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale and although it’s been years since I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale, I did not need a refresher before reading this one.

The Rest of It:

Gilead. A place where women are assigned to a certain order based on their “talents”. Some are married off to high-profile men to live a somewhat respectable life, surrounded by other women to cater to whatever they may need, even a baby if they cannot have one naturally. Other women are tasked with finding more women like them. Others, find themselves fighting for the resistance in the form of “Mayday”.

The Testaments focuses on Baby Nicole, who was whisked away from Gilead years ago. Much effort is spent trying to find her but the people involved in her disappearance have organized to the point where her disappearance and her eventual re-introduction is all part of a much larger plan to take Gilead down.

This novel would have been captivating all by itself but reading it during the Supreme Court confirmation process, and realizing how much is currently at stake in the area of women’s reproductive rights, was chilling to say the least.

I enjoyed this read. Atwood is a great storyteller and quickly pulls you in. My only complaint is that it was a little hard to keep track of all the “Aunts”. I often had to go back a few pages to remind myself who was who. My club chose this for our discussion this month and I think it’s a book that needs to be discussed so I am hoping for some good conversation.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Kindred

Kindred

Kindred
By Octavia Butler
Beacon Press, 9780807083697, 2004, 264pp.

The Short of It:

Not your typical science fiction read.

The Rest of It:

Dana and her husband Kevin find themselves in a unique situation. While celebrating her 26th birthday at their home in California, Dana becomes dizzy and then disappears before Kevin’s eyes. In an instant, Dana is transported to a Southern plantation. Her mission is apparently to save the white child who is drowning in front of her but this simple act of kindness earns her a shotgun pointed at her face when the plantation owner believes her to be the cause of his boy’s condition, not the other way around. As a black woman, Dana quickly realizes that if she doesn’t watch herself, she could end up enslaved along with the other slaves on the plantation.

This novel uses time travel to tell its story. Each time Dana goes back, Rufus, the young boy she saved is a little bit older and more like his father every day. Although Rufus makes disappointing choices which often result in a beating for Dana, she somehow feels a connection to him. And then when Dana’s husband Kevin enters this strange world along with Dana, things become much more complicated as Kevin is white, and the people of this time period don’t believe in a marriage between a white man and a black woman.

This is a strange story. I was immediately pulled in by the premise but it continually felt wrong to me and no explanation is given regarding the events in this story. We never learn why Dana has been called to return to this time. There is a short mention of ancestors and it is implied that Rufus is family. I suppose you don’t really need an explanation for the story to work but I was looking for one.

Butler does a good job of depicting plantation life and expressing the horrors through Dana’s eyes. If you’ve maxed out on slavery books this one might be one for you to try because it’s very different and hey, it’s science fiction.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.