Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (Almost) a contemporary novel, 8 Nov 2007
This review is from: The Edible Woman (Paperback)
This is the first book I read by Margaret Atwood, it was written in 1965 but I believe that the only aspects giving away the years depicted are the absence of modern technology in the narrative (i.e. mobile phones, computers etc. -not that this is a "technological" read anyway, just the opposite) and perhpas, only perhaps -that's the way I perceived it- a certain candour in some of the characters/situations which conveys "something" dated.

It's the tale of Marian, a quiet, well-brought up girl in her early 20s who's struggling to conform to the demands and unwritten rules of society. This is not because she does not want to, in fact, she would like to, but she realises that her inner self craves more than a proper, suitable and predictable routine (a good job, a respectable marriage, children in due time etc.), as it was expected -and often still is, if you think about it-. Something in her rebels, in a subtle but undeniably determined way. Will she manage to tackle and overcome her gnawing uneasiness, consistently on the rise, rapidly becoming a true torment and assailing her inner being? (A fact that her "cool" but obtuse boyfriend completely fails to see). That's for you to find out if you get this book.

Bearing in mind the year in which this book was written, some considerations about our modern society arise. Have women's -and men's- roles changed much since then? Of course they have, in many ways. Still, could and can a demanding society have such an impact in the configuration of our lives -or, in what we thought/think our life should be like- that sometimes we felt and feel crushed under the pressure? Has the vortex of speed in which the world has changed in this past century -with its good and bad consequences- changed the core of human nature? These are questions which came to mind as soon as I turned the last page.

I'm glad I read this book, but at the same time I cannot honestly place it among my favourites. For instance, in the beginning it almost completely failed to engage me and I kept on only because I always do (as a principle). Thankfully the tale got more interesting later on, which helped, even though I think the author was overly-descriptive especially, but not only, in connection with Marian's issues, rendering the read a bit tedious. Still, and it may sound like a contradiction, I do think it was worth reading it, because it triggers questions and comparisons with today's Western society, and it was certainly worth it for the quality of its prose, essentially studied and quite elegant.
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