John didn’t like this book so much. I’m paraphrasing here, but I’m pretty sure he described it as “depressing chick literature.” He admitted this to me in the middle of the night, rather sheepishly and out of the blue, more than a day after we finished it. We were lying awake in our tent, just waiting to drift off, and he turns to me and says: “…so, I’ve gotta say…I really didn’t enjoy reading that book.” I laughed. It was unexpected, a little terse, but honest, which I appreciated.
I think he thought I’d be disappointed (which I was, a little). Besides, it was my idea to put the book on our list; John only agreed cause I convinced him of its merits (purely based on my experiences with her other novels). To me, her words are like honey: you get stuck in them, caught in-between the nuances, each fragment, each image, and you’re left temporarily off-kilter, off-guard, a little exposed. Margaret Atwood has this way of suspending you in a dark place, that somehow feels comfortable enough to seem like home.
But I agree with John on this one: this book was a total bummer, the story-line plodding, the protagonist empty, sullen, exempt of any redeeming qualities whatsoever. “Depressing chick literature.” Hmm? I guess that’s pretty accurate.