11 Aug 2010

"Lady Oracle" - no oracle for me

I randomly picked out a Margaret Atwood novel - "Alias Grace" - in my local bookstore at Christmas time and since them I have been reading an Atwood novel every now and then. So one day the time came to read "Lady Oracle" which I was really excited about for two reasons:
1) The title. I think it sounds so cool
2) A large chunk of the novel takes place in Italy and London, two of my favourite places.

The plot of the novel is quite inventive - as always with Margaret Atwood's novels. Joan Forster, the key figure, is an anti-heroine. She used to be a chubby child, a fat teenager who was left by her mother to cope with an emotionally retaded father and morphed into an elegant woman with no self esteem. Every time Joan is met with a difficult situation, she mimics her mother and runs off.
The running off seems to be what decides the directions that her life goes into, even which man she marries. In the end - this is where the story begins - she stages her own death and runs off to Italy.
Now the plot is good, I like the stories of her childhood and how she comes to write romance novel. It is a good story but Joan herself is annoying. She is frustratingly unable to take a decision and do something with her life and it ruins the book for me. I simply cannot like her and therefore cannot empathise with her story and it means that I disconnected from it. Have you had this experience with this book or another novel?


  1. I just stopped reading a book because the main character did something and me dislike her in an instant. And her kids too! Could not care less what happend to these people so why finish it.
    Frustrating when that happens.

    I am currently reading THe Handmaid's Tale and I am enjoying it but freaked out at the same time. I keep thinking,"What would I do?"

    Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Yeah "The Handmaid's Tale" is creepy but great at the same time! Love your blog btw.

  3. I love Atwood but have never read this, it's a shame the unlikeable character ruined it for you. I can't think of an example of when I stopped reading a book because a character was annoying, it probably happens all the time though. :) I love the cover of your edition of Lady Oracle, it's very pretty.

  4. It is a pretty cover, isn't it? The publisher has made new covers for all of the margaret atwood novels and they are all really cool.