Kari's Reviews > Life Before Man

Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood
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Jun 29, 09

bookshelves: drama

I'm not a fan of this Margaret Atwood novel. Overall, I love her work, but I was disappointed. At the end the book redeemed itself, but still it wasn't very good.
Life Before Man examines the difficulties people face in their relationships: cheating, divorce, beginning a relationship when one person has kids. In respect to these situations, the novel does well to show how people fall in and out of love. However, the novel also demonstrates how selfish these characters are; they have little concern for the children involved. Of course, I'm not implying that people should stay together for the sake of children, but there was a disconnect.
The novel ended in a particularly interesting way when three women have the opportunity to tell their interpretation of their individual relationship with the same man. One is his ex-wife who feels abandoned, but too proud and guilty herself of infidelity to say anything. His mistress turned live in lover who is jealous of his ex and children, and feels like his moving in is a mistake and now she is stuck. Also, his former mistress, who feels a great deal of pity for the man and women bound to him.
The novel is written in chapters jumping form character to character's point of view. This is interesting, but at times becomes boring particularly when the point of view is a character who the read is not interested in.
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