by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lady Oracle / 0-553-37781-7
Like many of Atwood's characters, the main character of Lady Oracle suffers from an unhappy childhood, this time at the hands of a neurotic mother who frequently berates her daughter for failing to live up to her expectations. The result is a fractured personality - many different personas that have to be juggled regularly, and with increasing difficulty.
This fractured woman struggles with her relationships and her jobs, and how they affect her identity. Does her success at writing fluffy romance novels make her a less serious, worthwhile human being? Does her success at writing deep, meaningful, feminist poetry make her a less valuable spouse to her husband? Her romances are shallow, and she seeks out men who define her in contrast to themselves. She allows others to define her because, increasingly, she cannot define herself. As the novel winds down, we venture tentatively into the Atwood meme of insanity - are the events narrated to the us merely a product of a deranged mind on the part of the main character? We do not know.
I really love Atwood's writing, and own nearly all of her novels, but I will admit that Lady Oracle is not my favorite. The writing and story are, for me, strangely forgettable - even after re-reading the book recently in order to write this review, I find that much of the book did not leave a lasting impression on me, unlike her other, more recent works. "Lady Oracle" is an older work, and perhaps that is why it doesn't have the same grip on me. I recommend it, but only after you have read her more recent works.
~ Ana Mardoll
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