Friday 30 June 2017

Book Review: Good Bones; Margaret Atwood.

This is my first ever Margaret Atwood read. Can you believe it? I've heard so much about this lady, especially 'The Handmaid's Tale' which is due to become a television series, and it made me want to get into some of her work. This collection of short stories and poetry felt like the perfect place to start!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Good Bones
AUTHOR: Margaret Atwood
PAGES: 160
GENRE: Short Stories, Adult, Poetry, Literary Fiction

RATING: 4/5 Stars

These wise and witty writings home in on Shakespeare, tree stumps, ecological disasters, bodies (male and female), and theology, amongst other matters. 

We hear Gertrude's version of what really happened in Hamlet; an ugly sister and a wicked stepmother put in a good word for themselves, and a reincarnated bat explains how Bram Stoker got Dracula hopelessly wrong. 

Good Bones is pure distilled Atwood - deliciously strong and bittersweet.

What I Liked:

  • Atwood's writing style really lived up to my expectations, and after hearing such great things, they were high. This is made even better when I read reviews telling me that this is not even her best collection of stories! I loved her use of language and the symbolism/deeper meaning behind her words. It was powerful stuff! She took so many well known characters, stories and archetypes and completely turned them on their heads (demonstrated in stories such as 'The Little Red Hen Tells All', 'Gertrude Talks Back', 'Unpopular Gals' and 'There Was Once'), which we all know is something I really enjoy reading! Bravo!
  • So many stories were included, and they each covered very different themes that were designed to make the reader try to understand what, in essence, makes us human and the bare 'bones' of society. Personal favourites were of course focused on revisiting classic stories and changing them of course, but I liked the more analytical stories too. Especially those that seemed to try to understand our race from a creatively 'alien' perspective: 'Cold-Blooded', 'Alien Territory' and 'Homelanding' were such examples. Some of the stories had a bit of a Dystopian feel too, which I enjoyed.
What I Disliked:
  • The danger in any short story collection is there will almost always be a few stories that might not be so appealing or likeable. This 'rule' does not exclude Atwood's collection, sadly. I honestly felt that there would be a story here for pretty much everyone, considering the variation but it also meant that stories such as 'An Angel', 'In Love With Raymond Chandler' and 'Bad News' were entirely skippable in my honest opinion and I skimmed them.
Overall Conclusion:
This was pretty much what I wanted it to be: a good introduction to Atwood's style of writing, a great collection that reimagined some classic tales and stereotypes, and a reflective look on our society filled with symbolism and deep thoughts. I loved it! There were a few stories that didn't tickle my fancy, it's true but I really didn't hold that against this collection because there was too much good, and the 'bad' wasn't really even that bad. Just uninteresting. All in all, Atwood is well and truly on my 'must read more' list!

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