Review: Good Bones and Simple Murders

Good Bones and Simple MurdersGood Bones and Simple Murders
by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good Bones and Simple Murders / 0-385-47110-6

This compilation of Atwood's shortest stories and musings include the following:

- Murder in the Darl
- Bad News
- Unpopular Girls
- The Little Red Hen Tells All
- Gertrude Talks Back
- There Was Once
- Women's Novels
- The Boys' Own Annual
- Stump Hunting
- Making a Man
- Men at Sea
- Simmering
- Happy Endings
- Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women
- The Victory Burlesk
- She
- The Female Body
- Cold-Blooded
- Liking Men
- In Love with Raymond Chandler
- Simple Murders
- Iconography
- Alien Territory
- My Life as a Bat
- Hardball
- Bread
- Poppies: Three Variations
- Homelanding
- The Page
- An Angel
- Third Handed
- Death Scenes
- We Want It All
- Dance of the Lepers
- Good Bones

These stories are all fairly short, no more than a few pages each, and many are less stories than simply musings on the part of the author. Each one is a little snippet of thought, with a larger story behind it that exists only in the author's mind. For instance, "Gertrude Talks Back", a quick short speech where Hamlet's mother responds to his famous berating speech and confesses proudly that it was she who killed Claudius. Behind the speech lies an unwritten story with a stronger Gertrude, one who takes command of her own destiny rather than simply playing the passive roles of widow, wife, and mother.

The only real drawback to this compilation is that the stories are almost too short, too unpolished. The idea behind each is compelling, but it is disappointing that the idea wasn't able to blossom into a full story, or even a whole novel. Of course, lots of ideas peter out with nothing ever coming of them, and there's no shame in publishing these failed musings to inspire others, but it is a bit sad that this is as far as these stories ever got.

~ Ana Mardoll

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