Cat's Eye

by Margaret Atwood | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0385260075 Global Overview for this book
Registered by winghaahaahaa98wing of Watertown, Massachusetts USA on 6/11/2021
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winghaahaahaa98wing from Watertown, Massachusetts USA on Friday, June 11, 2021
Cat's EyeCat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Margaret Atwood's writing never ceases to impress in this mostly linear, chronological, 1st-person rendering of the life of the main character, a painter named Elaine Risley. Through her eyes we witness her recollections of childhood friends: their activities, feelings, their treatments of one another. She also relates the delicate, though ultimately benign, relationships that she has with her parents, her dad an entomologist at a local university. The narrator relates all this with an incredible level of perceptiveness - in particular her observations about gender issues are most revelatory and insightful.

The writing is clear and lucid, targeting at raw truths about the nature of childhood, of being female, of aging, of fraught anxieties between friendships and relationships. Atwood reminds us how cruel kids can be.

Somewhat surprisingly, the main character later in life (around high school onwards) gains something of the "upper hand" with her friend Cordelia, who earlier in life seemed to act somewhat abusive to her.

My only 2 critiques of the writing are as follows. The language describing Elaine's artwork seemed a bit stagnant, as if it was unclear why so much space was devoted to these descriptions in the first place. Also, the pacing of narration of later parts of the life, to me, seemed too fast. Neither of these issues detracts from what is otherwise richly perceptive and revelatory novel.

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Journal Entry 2 by winghaahaahaa98wing at RABCK, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Friday, June 11, 2021

Released 3 yrs ago (6/11/2021 UTC) at RABCK, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


Mailed as part of a RABCK in the US Tag Game 2020. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Thursday, June 17, 2021
Thanks for sending this wishlist book. Look forward to reading it!

This is also No. 199 on the 1001 books you must read before you die list.

Journal Entry 4 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Saturday, April 13, 2024
I have read two other books by Atwood: ALIAS GRACE, an historical novel about an accused murderess; and the dystopian novel, THE HANDMAID'S TALE. Both of these novels were very compelling but were totally different in theme and tone. In CAT'S EYE, Atwood goes in another direction and seems to write a more autobiographical novel. Atwood grew up in Canada and lived in Toronto and is the daughter of an entomologist. The novel tells the story of Elaine Risley who also grew up in Toronto and whose father was an entomologist but Atwood has rarely commented on these similarities.

The novel is told in the first person by Elaine who is a successful artist attending a retrospective of her work in Toronto. In each section of the novel, Elaine reflects on her childhood, teenage years, and eventually her young adulthood. These memories are often not pleasant. Her strongest thoughts are of Cordelia, a childhood "friend" who was the leader of a group of three girls who were often cruel to Elaine and each other. Later this relationship changed and Elaine seems to have the upper hand over Cordelia. She also has memories of her family including her older brother who collected trading cards, comic books, and marbles. Although her recollections are very vivid, Elaine realizes how unreliable memories can be and how they can also affect her present state of mind. The novel takes place in middle 20th Century from WWII to the 1980s and is filled with many of the elements of that time period including feminism and various art movements.

Atwood made this novel very readable and relatable with very eloquent language that puts the reader into Elaine's past with its ups and downs. Even though I am a male, I could still relate a lot to many of the childhood activities as described in the story. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and remember playing games of marbles, collecting comic books, and baseball cards. The title of this book "Cat's Eye" is a reference to a prized blue cat's eye marble that Elaine keeps in a childhood plastic red purse. This also becomes a motif in some of her later paintings and when she discovers the marble many years later in a trunk in her mother's basement, she regains her memories from "her entire life." Overall, a very engrossing and relatable novel.

Reserved for SandyPA.

Journal Entry 5 by wingperryfranwing at A RABCK, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Released 2 mos ago (4/17/2024 UTC) at A RABCK, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


RABCK heading to SandyPA. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 6 by wingSandyPAwing at West Chester, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, April 26, 2024
Happy to receive this Boxall 1001 book. Looks like a great read. I appreciate your journal entry as an intro, perryfran. I also grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, collecting the things you describe. How I loved my cat eye marbles! Looking forward to this one. Thank you for sharing it with me.

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