Madeline's Reviews > The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Dec 28, 2008

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Often I amuse myself by trying to imagine the ideas, conversations, or circumstances that led to the writing of certain books. For example, I think Philippa Gregory wrote The Other Boleyn Girl because she wanted to write a smutty romance novel disguised as history, Shakespeare probably wrote The Taming of the Shrew because someone bet him he couldn't write a play where domestic abuse is interpreted as matrimonial devotion, and Bette Green wrote Summer of My German Soldier specifically to torture 10th-grade Madeline.
In the case of The Penelopiad, I like to think that the idea for its creation came about in the mind of Margaret Atwood right after she read The Odyssey for what was probably the 10th time. Probably in the original Greek, too. Anyway, I think something like this went on in Atwood's head (just with a lot better vocabulary, of course):
"God, I hate Odysseus. Okay, Homer, you know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to take your story and write in from Penelope's perspective, and instead of portraying Odysseus as a hero, I'm going to turn him into the jerkiest jerk who ever jerked. And there will be tap-dancing maids. HA!"

And she did. This book is the result, and I can practically hear Atwood cackling madly at her computer as she types the story.
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03/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Ellen Forkin This is spot on - talk about venom! A poison-pen novel, indeed.

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