Book #103: Cat’s Eye

Margaret Atwood is a great writer. Cat’s Eye is the third book by her that I’ve read. So far, it’s the one that I’ve enjoyed the least.

Cat’s Eye is the story of an aging artist, Elaine Risley, who’s returned to Toronto, where she grew up, for an art show commemorating her paintings. While preparing for the show, she reminisces on her childhood and wonders, especially, what happened to her childhood friend Cordelia.

Like most character-driven novels, I have a really hard time explaining much more about Cat’s Eye. Cordelia is at the center of Elaine’s memories, first as an elementary school “frenemy” and tormentor, and then as a best friend. Elaine reviews her life and the times that it intersects with Cordelia’s.

I’ll be honest: Cat’s Eye got a little personal for me. I have my own versions of “Cordelia” from elementary school and high school. When Elaine remembers some of what she was feeling as a little girl, feeling manipulated and tormented by her friends and how helpless she felt to do anything about it, it took me back to some of the things I remember from childhood.

Girls can be mean, especially to their friends.

That made Cat’s Eye a bit difficult for me to read at time. In spite of my connecting with Elaine in a pretty personal way, I feel a bit meh about Cat’s Eye. It didn’t do a whole lot for me, as a whole. Again, like I said with What I Loved, since Elaine is an artist, Atwood devotes a fair amount of time to describing her paintings. Since I’m not a particularly visual reader, a lot of this was lost on me.

The story wasn’t the best and I didn’t love the book, but I’m willing to be lenient since it’s Margaret Atwood. At least I know with her that even if I don’t like the story, the writing will be good.

Rating: ***
Up Next: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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