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am 8. Mai 2000
When I find an author I like, I read as many books as I can by that author. MY favorite Atwood books are 'Lady Oracle' and 'Life Before Man.' When I read these books, I had the experience of playing "catch-up" with an old friend I hadn't seen in a while. You care about them, they've been away, and you have to hear all their news.
Usually, a friend has little endearing quirks you recognize--a favorite use of phrase or an overused word which you see or hear and say to yourself -- "Yup, that's her all over." With Atwood, I sometime feel my friend has multiple personalities.
The protagonist in this book is hard to "get next to" although you care about her. She's the friend who hasn't always been very good to herself, sometimes you want to shake her and say fight back, and sometimes you want to protect her but you know she's got to stand up for herself. Then one day she begins to change and you breathe a sigh of relief because you were getting tired of the beating she was taking.
I hand off many of my books to others, but I kept this one (it's a paperback). I couldn't tell you why as I don't think I'll read it again. It affected me on some level, and I'm glad I read it. I still like 'Lady Oracle' better though.
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am 29. Februar 2000
I really enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale but all the other Atwood books that I've read so far really don't compare--but hey, that's cool. There really wasn't anything that I didn't enjoy about the book, but personally it was a book that I could put down. I'd pick it up after a few days of course, but it wasn't very captivating.
One notible feature to the book was her writing technique. Atwood's writing style confronts issues in a sarcastic tone yet with good humor and wit. Though I say 'sarcastic' that doesn't mean that it is cynical and "mean." I truly suggest reading any of Atwood's works for the sole purpose of getting aquainted wit her writing style. ! Atwood stands out amongst women writers for having a unique writing style. !
Though I really don't have anything in specific to say about this book I can say that if you are a hardcore fan of Atwood then I highly recommend that you pick this up. Otherwise, you may want to try reading the Handmaid's Tale instead because I personally find it a tad more enthralling. peace out.
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am 26. Juli 2000
I first read Cat's Eye upon it's publication in 1989. I was twelve years old and at that time particularly enjoyed the bits about her adolescence. However, I did not fully understand the painful magic, that is the real beauty in this tale, until the age of 20. This novel is a woman's struggle to deal the demons of her past, her intense love/hate relationship with the elusive Cordelia, and her own life as a woman relating to other women. Although the main charachter, Elaine, claims to " not understand girls" and is openly heterosexual, there is a searing lesbian melodrama that lurks within her obsession with Cordelia. This subtle element provides taut frustration to the story. The grisly description of life in Toronto in the 40's and 50's is also a wonderful, perhaps educational, bonus. Ms. Atwood's clever insights into the cruelty of children, the secret relationships of women, and the workings of universe-according to Stephen Hawking, Physicist and a blurry, unaccepting and somehow unbelievable God- are truly what makes this novel an unforgettable reading experience for anyone, male or female.
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am 22. Juli 1999
I first read Cat's Eye about four years ago. I loved it then, which was why I picked it up again when I had to write a major paper. The second time around, the book seemed pretentious, and self-indulgent. The character of Elaine, who had seemed so strong the first time I read it was reduced to a one-dimensional weakling.
There are always bright spots, however, when reading Margaret Atwood. One of these is her poetic style. (I hate her poetry, but the translation of that same style in her prose is more enjoyable).
I wish that I hadn't read Cat's Eye a second time. My opion of Ms. Atwood and her work would have remained more complimentary. I would recommend Cat's Eye to adolescents around the age of sixteen or to those readers who are not looking to read with a critical eye.
My suggestions, if you are looking for a novel by Margaret Atwood, are The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace -- both better expressions of her talent.
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am 7. Mai 2000
In high school, I remember having to read novel after novel about the popular theme, "growing up." But every single one of them were about a male. When I finally came across this book, I was so overjoyed that someone had captured one of the female stories! Not to say the book is feminist, or even for females only. But it is filled with the aspects of my young friendships that I have come to associate with females. It is an entertaining, wonderful read that I think all people can enjoy on some level. This is an Atwood classic (and I rate it far above her popular novel, The Handmaid's Tale).
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am 15. Mai 2000
Elaine Risley returns to her childhood home of Toronto, Canada. Where she is flooded with memories of her past life. None of these memories conjure very fond sentiments. Through a series of flashbacks, Risley chronologically replays her life up to the present time. Intermixed with these flashbacks are interludes into current time. In the current time, Risley is in Toronto to attend a retrospective show of her art. Risley is a controversial painter. She does not use the title artist because she feels that the title painter is more conducive to gaining respect from other people. Throughout the novel, what others think and feel is ultimately important to Risley. Beginning with her early youth, Risley aimed to please her "friends", a group of girls who tortured her and almost killed her. During the time Risley is undergoing this torture, she finds solace in a cat's eye marble. Risley claims to have always felt uncomfortable with girls, possibly this occurrence is the reason why. Also contributing to her discomfort is the untraditional lifestyle her family leads. Her father is an entomologist who does field research in the Canadian forests, and so the family leads a nomadic life for numerous parts of Risley's life. Risley's only companion during these rootless times is her older brother, Stephen, who entangles her in the world of boys. Thus, Risley relates to the world she first entered better than the world of girls to which she actually belongs. While Risley is growing up, her antagonist, Cordelia persistently follows her. The two temporarily break connection when Risley gains the strength to revolt against the horrible actions Cordelia is taking against Risley. However, after several years, the two girls again meet, only this time, Risley is the stronger one. This being the case, Risley treats Cordelia poorly, just as Cordelia had treated her in the past. Only later in her life (actually the present time in the novel) does Risley come to the conclusion that "you should never pray for justice because you might get some." The novel concludes with Risley in the present time missing Cordelia with whom she wishes she could have a relationship with again after having treated her so poorly. In its entirety, I did not find the book enjoyable. Though the plot sounds enticing, the execution was not what it should have been. Too much time was spent discussing the unpleasant aspects of Risley's life, and not enough time was devoted to plot development. Although Atwood's preliminary idea was well concieved, the execution was not. Parts of Atwood's novel contained beautiful language, but the content in which it was presented was not near as masterful.
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am 7. Dezember 1999
This book drove me NUTS! I bought it because I absolutely love "The Robber Bride," but this one just seemed like a big waste. I spent the whole book waiting for something interesting to happen, but the detached voice of the narrator sucks any excitement right out of the story. But all the other reviewers seem to love it, so maybe you should read it anyway and decide for yourself.
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am 10. Mai 2000
Cat's Eye: Plot? Purpose? Point?
Being the simple-minded high school student that I am, it does not take a lot for a piece of literature to please me. I would have loved Margaret Atwood's autobiographical novel, Cat's Eye, full of symbolism, metaphors, astonishing diction and detail had it not been for the plot or lack thereof. Cat's Eye, a flashback of some sort (it goes back from past to present through chapters), deals with Elaine Risley, an upcoming artist, who is attempting to come to terms with her harsh childhood. Throughout Cat's Eye, Elaine's past and present are illustrated through distinct scenes so full of detail (particularly metaphors) and imagery that the description takes over the main point. Wait a minute, what main point? Throughout the novel there seems to be no main point, no direction, no plot, no beginning, and no ending. What a hit! Adding to that, the protagonist, Elaine is weak and unrealistic. As a pre-adolescent nine-year-old girl, Elaine allows herself to be controlled by three of her so-called friends. And, as an adult, Elaine is still weak, but now she's also pessimistic and somber. She's fifty something and is still disturbed about her childhood even though she eventually stood up for herself (which by the way was the highlight of the book). Elaine, as an adult, seems to me to be a disturbed character who belongs not in a novel but on the television show Frasier where she might be able to get help. I gave Cat's Eye a whole star for the complex, yet easy-to-follow style which to me seemed to be the only good thing about the book.
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am 20. September 1999
I loved Alias Grace and Handmaid's Tale but found this book to be ultimately depressing in an uninspiring way--too much like life in the doldrums or when it lacks meaning and is the most exitential, perhaps. The experiences of Elaine's childhood were deeply engrossing and shocking, but once she moved beyond her friends' bullying the narrator's story lacked coherence for me or any real kind of growth or advanced self-understanding. Maybe I didn't like it because it didn't have anything very inspiring or uplifting or wise to say, and I wanted more from it than concerns about one's dowdiness, cellulite and wrinkled skin and all that is lost. The writing about her brother and the childhood times was strongest to me--the parts about the brother and boys really sang. The older Cordelia did not seem quite real nor did Elaine's about-face. I think it is a fine book and would never put down Margaret Atwood or her artistry but this is a story that bummed me out in the end. Life can be that way surely, but I like to come away with something more than I got here. I did like what I thought might be glimpses of Atwood's own views about her talent and fame--seeing Elaine's art as Margaret's writing.
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am 11. März 2000
This is the first book os Atwood's that I have read, and am anxious to read The Handmaid's Tale. I was first impressed by Atwood's innovative description. Her eye and ear for detail has a mystical ability to speak to the reader's own thoughts and perceptions about everyday things. The book's heroine, Elaine Risley, takes us through the journey of her life, from elementary school to middle-age, detailing the trials and tribulations along the way. The story switches between Elaine's formative years and her grown-up self, and adds interesting, provocative breaks in the action that keep the reader interested. The book has a strange, misty, ethereal quality, as though the narrator is walking in a dream while recounting her youthful experiences, and this adds a sinister bent to the often-gritty tale. Although not an uplifting tome, Cat's Eye has a Forrest Gump-ish quality in that Elaine Risley is our guide through Canada from the end of World War II to the mid-80s, noting all of the world's changes in the backdrop of Elaine's life. Masterfully told, and an excellent read. Enjoy!
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