I recently finished this book... in fact, Zenia's ashes are probably still hovering over the water... Roz and Tony are right now slipping some of Charis's well-intentioned hors d'oeuvres into their pockets under the table to throw out on their way home... (Read it, and you'll know what I mean).
I am a guy, and I actually enjoyed reading about these crazy gals. I'm sure the book probably averages a 99% female readership, which is O.K. and understandable, but it's too bad more guys don't read Atwood stuff. It's always uh... educational and entertaining! There's more grit, hilarity, and bouncing off the ropes here than in any afternoon of the WWF!! Atwood's writing is terrific.
For a while I was disappointed in the seeming co-incidence that all of the principal female characters continued to come from overly similar dysfunctional (even suicidal) parental lineage... I was suspicious that Atwood was merely grinding some sort of ax here and making me read about it. But then I considered that it is often this very phenomenon of common "history" that can cause people to gravitate towards one another for friendship and support, even without the awareness of the other person's personal history. So it is not unduly "contrived" that the three main characters should come together over the decades that are represented here. They enjoy an enviable cosmic connectedness. At any rate, it is the ubiquitous Zenia (who leaves nothing of co-incidence in her wake) that is the real common denominator... the robber "mistress" as it were, that causes the three to increasingly interact and support one another.
Word to the men here though... if you need to be re-affirmed as a hero, stick to Tom Clancy or whatever. The men in The Robber Bride are less than admirable. The only real criticism (very minor) I have of the book is that (with all due respect to the capricious properties of testosterone), I'm not convinced that all men without exception are as ready to abandon established relationships and chase after silicone as are the men that are portrayed here. But, all that aside, I really enjoyed this book and was interested throughout. Maggie rocks!
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