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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Helen BS: Margaret Atwood: 'The Testaments' (9) RE: BS: Margaret Atwood: 'The Testaments' 08 Sep 19

I read the original Handmaid's Tale novel and I thought it was dark but brilliant, but Margaret Atwood has been one of my all time favourite authors since I first picked up one of her novels (off the floor after if fell off the library shelf TWICE in front of me, when I was visiting a library colleague at another branch) in the early '80's. After that I ordered all of her novels for myself and for my library branch that I could get my hands on and read them all as soon as I could. I have re read many of them over the years.

I thought that HT was different, darker, dystopian compared with the other Atwood novels at that time, but her more recent MaddAddam books are a bit dark too.

I watched the 1990 movie with Natasha Richardson and thought it was a good match to the novel. I waited with anticipation for the TV series, re read the HT novel in preparation,and then found that the series did not match the novel as much as I thought it would and it just went on and on and on. I spent a fair bit of time fast forwarding the long, drawn out "atmospheric" bits and also the violent bits, especially in series one.

Then at the end of series one we still were nowhere near an ending so there had to be a series two. Same again at the end of series two so there has to be a series three.

Personally, I suspect that the cast and crew were having so much fun that they wanted to prolong the experience for as long as possible. Personally, I prefer the novel to the TV series. Atwood is so clever at conveying the ideas and the plot without having to spell it all out, and the ending of the novel leaves everything up in the air. In the novel, the final outcome could be ok to good, or bad to very bad. You don't know. You can only guess at possibilities. You can only hope.

The key message I got from the novel was that the main character just accepted everything that happened to her and never questioned the social right or wrong of what was happening in society. That was the scariest part because it seemed so likely and I see it in all sorts of social, work related and government related contexts. Most people don't seem to question the rights and wrongs around them and not many people stand up and try to right those wrongs.

The TV series had to spell everything out in the finest detail.

There were some good things about it, but for me it has been a conflicting experience. I will read Atwood's sequel, but I think it would be difficult for her to set aside what happened in the TV series so that she could just write what she has to say.

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