Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Virago Press (Paperback), 1988
BLURB FROM THE COVER
‘If I were to meet Cordelia again, what would I tell her about myself? The truth, or whatever would make me look good? Probably the latter. I still have that need.
Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood – unbearable betrayals and cruelties – surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for forty years.
Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. If you can bend space you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster than light you could travel backwards in time and exist in two places at once.
I thought Cat’s Eye was great. I loved the novel. Atwood has become one of my favourite writer’s recently and Cat’s Eye reaffirms how much I enjoy her writing. Every page of this novel was haunted and memorable. My favourite bits of Cat’s Eye dealt with Elaine’s memories of her childhood and teenage years when she was cruelly bullied by three girls she considered her best friends. Atwood perfectly captures the cruelty and mean-ness only girls can show and the displacement Elaine feels at being a friend and a victim of Cordelia, Carol and Grace. These sections of Cat’s Eye resonated strongly with me. As a child and a teenager, I was a victim of bullies. The worst of the bullies was my best friend and she could switch from ally to executioner with terrifying speed. I thought Atwood really hit the nail on the head when writing about Elaine’s complication relationship with the three girls. I really enjoyed it when Elaine manages to break away from them and becomes friends with Cordelia a few years later in high school and has apparently forgotten Cordelia’s cruelty. Atwood does a great job at showing how Elaine triumphs over the cruelty she experienced. One of the most powerful sections of Cat’s Eye is when Elaine becomes known in high school for her ‘mean mouth’. In a way, her physical and verbal abuse at the hands of Cordelia, Carol and Grace have hardened her and force her to develop some extreme self defence mechanisms. I enjoyed everything about Cat’s Eye. Atwood sucked me into Elaine’s world. I thought the characters were great. Cat’s Eye ticks all the boxes and struck a chord deep in my heart.