Friday, December 6, 2019

The Testaments; Margaret Atwood; A Better Man; Louise Penny


The Testaments; Margaret Atwood
Random House Audio - 2019

Although I'm not generally a fan of dystopian fiction, I really liked reading The Handmaid's Tale (1985) so I decided to listen to Atwood's new sequel as well. The sequel begins about 15 years after Offred had disappeared.  The story is narrated in the first person by (3) characters. There's Aunt Lydia, the older, slyer, evil villain  who, honestly IMO, saved this story from being a total bomb for me. She's both miserable and memorable. The other narrators were younger women who both seemed so immature and irked me overall. The return to Gilead seemed different this time around with definitely more of a contemporary feel. 

 (I actually finished this audio a few months ago so my thoughts are somewhat fuzzy as I tried to jot my overall impressions. I'm glad I listened to this one but, it didn't stick with me the way A Handmaid's Tale seemed to.)

3.5/5 stars


A Better Man; Louise Penny
Macmillan Audio - 2019

Book # 15 in the Three Pines series, of which, I've read about 7 or 8 of the books.  For me, it's Penny's earlier books that really shine. Her latest books have been just okay for me.  The characters and charming, close-knit feel of Three Pines that fans grew to love seemed absent and the overall story rushed.

Rather than rehashing the plot, of A Better Man, I'll just say that the story took a long time to get moving and there was so much repetition.  The ending, after all my effort, felt unfinished. It made me feel like I missed something  along the way-- like what happened to the art critic? 

Overall, I was disappointed and felt like I would have been better off abandoning this book. Instead of reading future releases by Penny, I'll probably go back and read her earlier, charming efforts that I have missed along the way.  

Have you read these? If so what did you think?

2/5 stars


15 comments:

  1. I haven't read either of the Atwood books, or A Better Man. Sorry neither of these were that good for you.

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  2. I don't think they will be making our list any time soon.

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  3. I liked the Testaments, but I thought that initially it was a bit confusing to switch between the perspectives.

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  4. I thought The Handmaid's Tale was great but have been reluctant to listen to The Testaments for some reason.

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  5. I'm behind on the Three Pines books by at least two books, but I will eventually catch up. Sorry to hear that the latest is a disappointment.

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  6. Yes, I just finished The Testaments and thought was good! It was different than Handmaid's Tale but I thought it well worth it.

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  7. The Testaments totally worked for me. I felt she gave us hope and courage to combat these viewpoints about women that persist to this day. I liked the old and young working together. Aunt Lydia is such a great character.

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  8. My mother has been reading Louise Penney's books and loves them. I want to read some of the earlier novels, too.

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  9. I loved Handmaid's Tale when I read it in the '80s and don't remember much of it. I worry I need to reread it before tackling The Testaments. And, I've only read one Louise Penny, but enjoyed it.

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  10. I'm not surprised to hear what you have to say about the Atwood book, kind of figuring that it was written more as a result of all the recent hype about The Handmaid's Tale than for any other reason.

    I do hate to hear that the new Louise Penny novel is not up to snuff, though, as that series is still one of my favorites. I'm intrigued by Gamache's career path now more than anything else.

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  11. I read A Better Man and liked it better than you did, although it clearly was not one of her best. I haven't read The Testaments. My husband bought it when it first came out, but I just can't work myself up to read it yet much as I loved The Handmaid's Tale. I had to stop watching the second season of the series based on that book because it had gone so beyond the book and was just utterly bleak and depressing. Perhaps the new book would be an antidote to that.

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  12. I haven't read either of these. Thanks for your honest reviews, Diane.

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  13. Interesting...I just read another meh review of The Testaments and a huge Louise Penny fan who was also disappointed in this one. I've only read the 1st in the series so far (earlier this year) but I'd like to read more.

    Sue

    Book By Book

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  14. 3.5 for Atwood. It's hard to follow-up on such a classic.

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  15. I loved The Handmaid's Tale but is skeptical about the sequel. I suppose I'm not in a hurry to read it.

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