My Evil Mother

Posted 19 May 2022 by Kim in Book Reviews |

My Evil MotherMy Evil Mother: A Short Story by Margaret Atwood
Published: 1 April 2022
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Pages: 32
| Goodreads


the blurb

Life is hard enough for a teenage girl in 1950s suburbia without having a mother who may—or may not—be a witch. A single mother at that. Sure, she fits in with her starched dresses, string of pearls, and floral aprons. Then there are the hushed and mystical consultations with neighborhood women in distress. The unsavory, mysterious plants in the flower beds. The divined warning to steer clear of a boyfriend whose fate is certainly doomed. But as the daughter of this bewitching homemaker comes of age and her mother’s claims become more and more outlandish, she begins to question everything she once took for granted.

my review

I’m a longtime fan of Atwood, so when I saw this, I knew I had to have it. And with the witchy theme? Even better!

But it is not really about witchery at all. Instead, it’s more of a generational story of a mother and daughter. It’s set in post-WW II Toronto, a time when social norms were extremely conservative. Single mothers were incredibly rare and all too often looked down upon. The daughter’s voice is so clear, the vocabulary and often mercurial moods of a teenager. In contrast, her mother is witty, telling her daughter wild stories to teach her life lessons. My favorite is that her father is a garden gnome in the garden, in whom the daughter often confides. The mother, the witch, is quirky, insistent upon oddities such as burning cut hair so that it can’t be taken by others and used nefariously. The story, although short, travels through the rebellious teen years until the main character matures and learns some life lessons of her own. The relationship comes full circle between them in a poignant way.

some great quotes

Totally taken out of context, but great nonetheless.

Bryan must go, if not from this planet than from your life.

Who says you need eyes to see?

The opposite of mean is doormat.

“Some people collect stamps, she collected penises.”

“Why would I care about the tittle-tattle of the uninformed?”

About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid’s Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood’s dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth ­ in the Massey series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.

Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Associations: Margaret Atwood was President of the Writers’ Union of Canada from May 1981 to May 1982, and was President of International P.E.N., Canadian Centre (English Speaking) from 1984-1986. She and Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society within BirdLife International. Ms. Atwood is also a current Vice-President of PEN International.

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