Sunday, January 18

Book Review: The Edible Woman

Title: The Edible Woman

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 318

Summary: What happens to someone who has been a willing member of consumer society when she suddenly finds herself identifying with the things consumed?

The Edible Woman, the novel that established Margaret Atwood as a prose writer of major significance, is the witty and diverting story of a young woman whose sane, structured, consumer-oriented world suddenly slips strangely out of focus. As a result, Marian McAlpin finds herself unable to eat: first meat, then eggs, and finally even vegetables become abhorrent to her. In this tour de force, Margaret Atwood presents a striking condemnation of contemporary society and the rampant consumerism that deprives people of both soul and sustenance

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, that in the beginning, I didn’t like the book. The book throughout, has Atwood’s amazing style of writing, but it was more of some of the characters, just really annoyed me. I was extremely frustrated with Marian in parts to the point, I wanted to find her scream at her and then shake her. There was the one part, where she acted so silly and off, I almost put the book down, but I didn’t. Which ended up being a good thing, because it did turn into a good story.
The best part of the book, is Atwood’s points on society, especially how society conforms everyone into specific roles, of masculinity and femininity. The book surrounds it’s self on the ideas of consumerism and how it’s taken hold on society, from this consumerism, it takes hold and forms these roles males and females play out, and I really enjoyed almost, parody, on the roles of females then. The book can be seen both as a parody or a series out cry on how woman are defined, many points, they are seen as someone who is consumed by husbands, that once this happens, their abilities to think, work and have free thoughts, all disappear, in order to fit the roles of wives and later mothers. The ideas of consumer built femininity and how society (especially at the time when the book is written and takes place) conforms to it. The message Atwood drives into readers is clear, and after reading the entire story, I’m very glad I stuck with it, because I agree with what she’s trying to point out, and even today, you can still see the similarities in how consumer driven society tries to form us into certain roles and ideas on femininity and masculinity. Which the terms are often discussed and referred to in the book. Overall a good read, with a great message in the end.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would, it is a little slow and often frustrating in the beginning, which is about the first 100 pages or so, but once you read the book as a whole, it does become very enjoyable. Maybe it was the entire time, and I was in an irritable mood, so character’s traits or the things they did, made me more frustrated then normal, either way, it’s an enjoyable read, and any Atwood fan, or women’s lit fan, should read.

What to read next: More women’s lit or Atwood books. I’d also recommend The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which also shares a few themes with some of the minor ones, it’s a bit of an outreach, but they have a few small similarities.

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  1. I've read a handful of Atwood, but not this one. Based on your description though, I think I'd enjoy it.

  2. Your review was great. I may have to check this out!

  3. This sounds pretty intriguing. I'd like to read all of her novels...someday.

  4. I've only read one of Margaret Atwood's books. Very talented writer.

  5. I read this many year ago, and think that your review encapsulates it very well. An interesting book.

  6. Hey Jules, excellent review. I noticed that we had some similar thoughts with regard to the book. I'm curious to know what your favourite Atwood book is? If you're interested in reading my review of The Edible Woman it can be found here .
    Happy Reading!