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The Edible Woman

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  31,167 ratings  ·  1,839 reviews
Marian is determined to be ordinary. She lays her head gently on the shoulder of her serious fiancé and quietly awaits marriage. But she didn't count on an inner rebellion that would rock her stable routine, and her digestion. Marriage à la mode, Marian discovers, is something she literally can't stomach...

The Edible Woman is a funny, engaging novel about emotional cannib
Paperback, 310 pages
Published June 1998 by Anchor (first published December 31st 1969)
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Marilyn No, to me it's not about an eating disorder. Not what you think of a typical eating disorder…moreNo, to me it's not about an eating disorder. Not what you think of a typical eating disorder(less)

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Right around the time I turned 20, a boyfriend of mine dragged me to a Yes concert. I say “dragged” not because I have anything against the band, but because I knew only two of their songs, and I was the only girl going.

My then-boyfriend and his friends were big Yes fans, and they had rented a limo stocked with booze, and it was a real party scene in that vehicle. Well, it was a real party scene for them, less so for me, the girl who didn't know Yes songs, and the one who was becoming increasing
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel with a major, very creepy power. Very different from her latter books, "The Edible Woman" is about the destructive power of man-woman relationships and it takes place in a world of robotic emotions and mechanical compulsions (not too far off from the Victorian variety!).

The novel, a true avantgarde sociosexual depiction, borrows its demonic tone from Hawthorne, its cinematography from Cronenberg, its absurdism from David Lynch. Also, it contains all the brilliance & pseudo-silliness of
Glenn Sumi
Margaret Atwood’s prescient first novel still offers lots to chew on

Marian, a 20-something woman in 1960s Toronto, gets engaged to her dull-but-respectable lawyer boyfriend, Peter, then soon begins losing her appetite for food. This causes problems leading up to the wedding, as Marian suffers a serious identity crisis. Perhaps she doesn’t want to submit to this marriage, after all.

This was Margaret Atwood’s first novel, and besides the funny and insightful writing, the book was way ahead of its
Barry Pierce
I decided to re-read this because its white spine always calls my attention next to the black spines of Austen and Brontë. My review from two and a half years ago, to paraphrase Talking Heads, seems to talk a lot but not say anything.

The Edible Woman was Atwood's first novel, and thus I must treat it like a first novel. Atwood was twenty-six when she wrote this, and it reads like it. The novel presents itself as a tale of a women who is faced with the awful prospect of marriage. The thought of
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This story is perhaps the most pathological, dystopian and absurd I’ve ever read.... I try to leave my profession as a psychiatrist hidden and behind, I know, impossible thing and I would like to evaluate with the eyes of an average, normal person this book, as happened to me, that not wanting to take this particular work in the library, I chose it because it was struck by the cover.
The plot is nothing complicated, rather, complete monotony. We will meet Mariam, a very quiet girl but a little we
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I read by Margaret Atwood in the mid-eighties and the one that made me a fan. I had never read anything quite like it before and I was hooked.
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
before Ohhh this book is like my favorite hoodie—threadbare and falling apart but so so soft and comfy, with all those little stains and patches as sweet reminders of long ago. Love love love love this book...

after Well yes, I do love this book as much as ever, but I was actually kind of surprised at how different it was from the last time I read it, oh, five or six years ago. Here are some reflections (in list form, because I'm feeling lazy):

1. I am still terribly and utterly in love with Dunca
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Edible Woman , Margaret Atwood’s debut novel, is a slightly topsy-turvy inverted fairytale, with shades of Mad Men in its focus on consumer culture and the stifling social conventions of the mid-Sixties. Published in 1969 but written a few years earlier, Atwood’s sly humour elevates this story of one woman’s identity crisis amid the restrictive expectations placed on young women of the time (marriage and babies, in that order).

In some ways this novel is like a time capsule from a lost er
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, canada
Written in 1965, this is a protofeminist work that anticipated second wave feminism in North America - and it is important to keep that in mind when reading it, because fortunately, some aspects seem outdated for today's readers; unfortunately though, other aspects are still upsettingly relevant. Discussing gender stereotypes and consumerism, the story is told from the perspective of Marian, a young woman who works for a market research company and slowly loses her sense of self after getting en ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
What an unusual story. Marian is newly engaged and then discovers she can't eat certain foods, first meats and then almost everything else. What is her subconscious trying to tell her?

Atwood is a writer who amazes me every time I read her; it really is hard to categorize her writing. Her writing style on the other hand is exquisite, intelligent and witty at times.

The main theme of this book is relationships and how they can transform you. I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than I d
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - Spoilers

Loved this, it was weird and wonderful. I thought I was going to hate it after reading the first few chapters, it was so slow moving and boring. It was only until the main character (Marian) started to think strange thoughts and act totally nutty that I started to get really engrossed in the story and characters.

-I didn't like Marian whatsoever, she was passive, irritating and all round doormat. But despite being a largely pathetic and frustrating character, she was utterly e
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I liked this novella more than The Handmaid Tale, and that was quite a book!
The story is about Marian, an ordinary young woman who works for the advertising section of an enterprise, and leads an equally ordinary life, until two things, apparently disconnected, happen: her boyfriend, Peter, asks her to marry him and she discovers she is no longer able to eat - first meat, than even vegetables.
The book was interpreted as a metaphor of consumerism which governs our society, but it's more t
Helene Jeppesen
3.5/5 stars.
This is an interesting book that deals with the theme of femininity. I liked the foreword a lot in which Margaret Atwood explains that she actually wrote this book before femininity became a subject for discussion in society. It's striking how Atwood hits spot on on some things that nowadays seem evident or at least understandable.
Marian is a funny, and at times frustrating, character who doesn't really know what she wants. Does she want to go with the flow and get married? Meanwhi
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Oh dear, I couldn't decide whether I liked this book from one page to the next. I expected to like it but kept deciding I didn't and a page or two later decided that maybe it was ok after all. Several things put me off it but mainly the characters. Ugh!, the characters were dull grey people with nothing likable about them. They seemed to be superficial, one dimensional people, who's only concern was how they looked to others. Even with those who were meant to be their best friends they weren't r ...more
Well, Margaret Atwood definitely knows how to write. I almost cannot believe that this was her first novel. It's as if she was born a fully formed writer who knows what she is doing and how she wants to do it. Every word has a meaning. You need to pay attention, otherwise you will miss an important, interesting or simply smart observation or aside. Moreover, it is very funny.

Despite having been published in 1969 (and written even earlier) this feels very fresh, although surely things that were s
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ibr
trailing herself, like a many-plumed fish-lure with glass beads and three spinners and seventeen hooks, through the likely looking places, good restaurants and cocktail bars with their lush weed-beds of philodendrons, where the right kind of men might be expected to be lurking, ravenous as pike, though more maritally inclined. But those men, the right kind, weren't biting, or had left for other depths, or were snapping at a different sort of bait - some inconspicuous brown minnow or tarnished s ...more
4 and a half star, rounded to 4.

Marriage, consumerism, misogyny, dark humour, clever (albeit not super subtle) symbolism. This was Margaret Atwood’s first published novel and if you have read any of her other work, you can immediately see how she sharpened her claws with “The Edible Woman”. The same motifs appear in her other books I have read (namely “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “The Blind Assassin”, “Cat’s Eye” and “The Robber Bride”), and I can now see where she planted the seeds that would grow in
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in 2019, I promised that I would read all of Margaret Atwood’s 17 novels, with the short story collections the following year. After all the year before I managed to read all 12 of Jonathan Coe’s novels (yes I know there’s a new one, it’s on the TBR stack). Dutifully I purchased all her novels and then other books got in the way and this project was dropped. Weirdly in that same year I read her second novel, Surfacing, for the IRL bookclub I co-run. Now we’re on the right track and the proj ...more
Josephine (Jo)
This observation of relationships between women and men and the pressure cooker atmosphere that builds up as Marian starts to feel trapped. At the beginning of the book Marian is working as a compiler of door to door questionnaires and one weekend she has to go out herself and test the particular questionnaire on beer. On her long slog in the cold and wet she comes across the undergraduate student Duncan who lives with two house mates Trevor and Fischer Smythe (Fish), these three are the oddest ...more
Jason Pettus
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Goodreads 2019 Summer Reading Challenge
10. New voices: Read a debut novel

THE GREAT COMPLETIST CHALLENGE: In which I revisit older authors and attempt to read every book they ever wrote

Currently in the challenge: Martin Amis | Isaac Asimov (Robot/Empire/Foundation) | Margaret Atwood | JG Ballard | Clive Barker | Philip K Dick | Daphne Du Maurier | William Gibson | Michel Houellebecq | John Irving | Kazuo Ishiguro | John le Carre | Bernard Malamud | China Mieville | VS N
Tudor Vlad
Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-fiction
On to my quest to read more Margaret Atwood, I hit my first obstacle. I can’t say it was a bad book, I enjoyed the character but I did not enjoy the story. Why? Because there wasn’t much of it. Instead, this book was a commentary about femininity. I could call it a feminist novel but as Margaret herself says in the foreword of this book she wrote it before the movement even started. It’s sad how much of what the character of this book has to deal with in the book is still just as relevant and un ...more
Pantelis Andreou
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far my second Atwood novel and I expected more from it..

The story was smart with issues and themes relevant still today even after so many years of its release and the writing was sharp like casual Atwood but I couldn’t care less for anything else or as a matter of fact for the story..

Abbie | ab_reads
Were you a fan of The Vegetarian by Han Kang? Do you like books that are clever and witty and sharp and tear apart social structures and relationship expectations like there's no tomorrow? Then you must pick up The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood!
I find it hard to believe that this book was written in 1965 before feminism in North America was even a *thing* and published in 1969, Atwood was (and is) so ahead of her time in her thinking! This book is wonderful. It's packed with symbolism and cri
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it
This is Atwood's first book, published in 1969. It's full of feminist ideas but it's so dated it was hard to get my head around it. A woman who is so normal that everyone thinks she's the most normal person they know, is about to get married. She feels that she's losing her identity and finds that she can't eat certain types of food. Meanwhile her roommate tricks a guy into getting her pregnant because she wants a baby but not a husband. I notice there are several study guides to this book, but ...more
Eve Kay
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm confused. Who was the target audience here? I know I wasn't, just now reading it, but I mean back when the book came out. Who was it for?
It's a very good book for a first novel but I still don't quite understand Atwood. Who is she writing for?
I like the way her stories enfold but especially in this one there was way too much description and the story enfolded too slow. It wasn't particularly interesting but it wasn't a complete bore either.
Mrs. Miska
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Some books are easily and quickly devoured, as by a greedy child, and enjoyed all the more for the speed of consumption. Others, however, may be eaten with similar speed, but only to arrive more hastily at the end of the meal. The Edible Woman was one of the latter for me. I started on it during our trip up north over the holiday weekend, and gulped down the last half of it in the car Sunday. By the end, I just wanted to see how it finished to end the tediousness. It was like gnawing on a tough ...more
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I left my husband, after almost four years of a miserable marriage, I was stuck in our shared house for three months before I found a new home for myself and our one year old son. During those three months - me sequestered in the bedroom, him camped out in the living room on the other end of the house, and our son's room in the middle - I had to find something to do with the rotten, destructive energy I was suddenly holding onto that threatened to drown me. I'm not a creative person but I d ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atwood's first novel, written in the mid-60's and published just as the second-wave feminist movement was gaining traction in North America, explores gender stereotypes, societal expectations, and the loss of identity a woman faces when confronted with marriage... and it's weird. Prose-wise, there are already some flashes of her later genius, although it's clear that she's still honing her craft, and she's a bit heavy-handed with her metaphors, but she was either on to some timeless Female Truth ...more
Elena Tomorowitz
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comps-list
I don't think I could have read "The Edible Woman" at a better time than now, when topics of feminism are becoming more and more present. I originally picked up this book because of its title and because I wanted to check out some Atwood--admittedly, this is my first time reading her. The title alone has so many implications--that women are consumable, visceral, sinewy, sexual, and all of the above. The main character is so honest and real that I often forgot throughout the book that she was bei ...more
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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, childr

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