The first Margaret Atwood book I read was THE HANDMAID’S TALE in high school (though I can’t remember which grade). I didn’t love it, but I think it’s a difficult book for a teenage girl to love.
Margaret Atwood is, without question, the most famous Canadian writer. But the weird thing about Canada is the more other people like you, the less we do. (See also: Justin Bieber, Nickelback.) Fame feels funny to a country with a serious inferiority complex.
So I got through university without reading anymore Atwood—by assignment or choice. But every few years, I try again to get into poetry, and I read THE CIRCLE GAME. And I loved it. Since then, I’ve picked up every secondhand Atwood book I find, and I’m giving her a second chance.
I’m currently struggling my way through CAT’S EYE. My students asked if I like the book I’m reading; I’ve read more pages than all their books put together, but I can’t answer that question yet.
It’s an upsetting book—about friendship between young girls, which is fraught with jealousy, bullying, and sadness. It doesn’t feel good to read it, no matter how beautiful the sentences might be. I can’t decide if I should take a break or give up completely.
Most of my books have something between the pages, marking the place I gave up last time. But that hope is just one more thing taking up space on my shelves and in my brain. I’m trying to be OK with letting go.