“Lady Oracle” by Margaret Atwood
The illustrious Ms. Margaret Atwood has a special place in my heart and on my bookcase. (She and Christopher Moore have their very own shelf. If you understand my Chris Moore adoration, you realize the value of that real estate.) “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Oryx and Crake,” and especially “The Blind Assassin” are some of the greatest books I’ve ever read. So, along my travels as a reader, when I see an Atwood book I haven’t read at a used bookstore or book sale, I pick them up.
Such is the case of “Lady Oracle.” This one’s been hanging around my bookcase for a few years now, and I’ve never read it. Finally, I plucked it from the shelf and opened it up.
It’s quite different than other Atwood. There’s no vaguely sci-fi leaning, and the political undertones are largely confined to a few characters. It’s a really good book, though it’s nothing like the writing Atwood has become known for. “Lady Oracle” reminded me more of Wally Lamb’s “She’s Come Undone,” as it charts the life story of a woman from an unhappy fat daughter of a harsh Mom to a famed poet (who writes lurid romance novels on the side.) Also, she might have faked her own death. It’s a mystery!!!!
Our heroine, Joan, is brutally honest about her tale and her reasoning for her life choices and the people in her life. Atwood’s writing is in fabulous form here, vivid and snappy. The characters she creates are people we know instantly – from Joan’s slacker/political husband to her endearing Aunt Lou. I liked Joan a lot, as I think many women will, and rooted for her to figure out/get what she wanted from life.
Good read. If you’re just getting into Atwood, I’d send you to “The Blind Assassin” first, but this one is totally worth your time.