Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

December 2004

This was another "classic" book that I'd never read by another author whose work I have not just admired, but really loved (Oryx and Crake was great, and The Handmaid's Tale - well, what more needs to be said?). After reading Cat's Eye, I find myself wondering if Margaret Atwood is maybe one of my favorite authors. She's certainly one of the best writers to grace my bookshelf. There is some affinity between her and Ian McEwan, I think, in the way they write things that are painfully and yet beautifully true, in the way that it is almost impossible to stop reading what they write and put their books down, and in the way that their stories stick with you long after the pages of the book have been closed.

Despite being a "feminist" writer (or maybe because of it), Atwood paints a terribly accurate picture of the mutual (and frequently unwitting) cruelty not just of adolescent girls, but of women as well. She also nails the feelings of loneliness and displacement that come with leading an unconventional life in a conventional world, particularly as a child. None of this makes for a particularly hilarious read, but it is terribly compelling, and it's really not all grim - as dark as the story gets, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the quality of both the writing and the storytelling make the emotional darkness well worth it.

Further reading…