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The Edible Woman
 
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Margaret Atwood
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The Edible Woman

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  24,370 Ratings  ·  1,320 Reviews
Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can't eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds - everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling that she's being eaten. She really ought to feel consumed with passion. But she just feels ... consumed.

Note: Contains opening pages to Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle at
...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published 1981 by Bantam-Seal (first published 1969)
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Fabian
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel of major creepy power. Very different from her later 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 Beckett
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Glenn Sumi
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Julie
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Meaghan
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oriana
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
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Rowena
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ferdy
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
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Jenny
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Υπόθεση: Η Μάριαν κάνει μια δουλειά που δεν την ενθουσιάζει (από την οποία όμως δεν βλέπει έξοδο διαφυγής),έχει σχέση με έναν άνδρα κατά του γάμου και των δεσμεύσεων,ενώ η ίδια αποζητά κάτι παραπάνω, και μένει με μια κοπέλα με την οποία δεν έχουν κανενα κοινό,πέρα από το ότι συγκατοικούν.Ξαφνικά αρραβωνιάζεται,παθαίνει κρίση ταυτότητας και γνωρίζεται με τον Ντάνκαν.

Αυτό το βιβλίο γράφτηκε τη δεκαετία του '60 κι όμως αγγίζει ευαίσθητες χορδές που παραμένουν διαχρονικές.Δεν ξέρω πώς ακριβώς να το
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Stela
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
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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
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Cristina
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mujeres muy femeninas
Shelves: canadiense
“Las metas del movimiento feminista no se han alcanzado, y quienes aseguran que vivimos en una era post-feminista se equivocan, lamentablemente, o se han cansado ya de pensar en estos temas”. Declaraciones de Margaret Atwood, 1979.

Da terror y pena constatar que las palabras de Margaret Atwood siguen vigentes en la actualidad. Da terror y pena ver literalmente transcritas en la novela situaciones que te han pasado en la vida real. El contexto es Canadá a finales de los 60, yo hablo de España en e
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Tudor Vlad
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
Elena Tomorowitz
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mrs. Miska
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diana
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
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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
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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.
Val
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed Han Kang's The Vegetarian but found it too short/strange/dark? Just read this!
Elaine
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
Katherine
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Margaret Atwood in high school when I first read The Handmaid's Tale, but I didn't read any of her other books until college, when I realised she's actually an amazing feminist writer with an incredibly versatile imagination. The Edible Woman was her first novel -- I think it was written in the late 60s or early 70s -- and was the first book of hers that I really fell in love with.

Marian graduated from college and drifted into a job, a boyfriend, and a holding pattern, then got eng
...more
Danine
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story in The Edible Woman takes place in the 1960s. With that in mind, I attempted to ease my modern depictions, expectations, and conclusion about the 1960s. I found the book to be a slow read and, like many others, I enjoyed the metaphors that were heavily sprinkled throughout the story that paralleled the lives of Marian and Ainsley.

I comprehend the feminist aspect of the story. For me, though, this book was more about the human aspects of life that collided with the lives of these women
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Mridu  aka Storypals
You can read our review here -- http://storypals.net/book-report-edib...
Versha
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
3.5

“WEIRD” would be the right word to describe this book, I guess!In fact, I neither could hate this book nor I could love it because of its unusual storyline and characters. It’s strange, though Marian McAlpin the protagonist seems eccentric and some of her acts/thoughts were quite insane and out-of-the-way yet she was also relatable at time!!
Basically, the story revolves around a woman who is insecure, has lack of clarity and is unable to analyze the importance of freedom in her life. And Mar
...more
Ryan
Sep 19, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much only adding this because for a second I thought it was Donna Noble on the book's cover.
Jamie
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, feminism
✮ Read this review and more like it on The Last Page

Marian is an average college-educated woman who lives with a roommate in a decent apartment, works for a survey company, is moderately good looking, and has a handsome fiancé who is on his way to being a big shot lawyer. It sounds like life altogether is going pretty well for Marian. Yet for some reason she feels empty, why?

The Edible Woman explores the themes of losing a sense of self with maturity. At work she is pushed around, her roommate
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Jim
I was having dinner a few days ago with a young French artist who is in my town as an artist-in-residence. When not traveling around Europe creating art installations, she lives in Berlin. At some point in the conversation the topic of feminism came up and she said she really wasn't sure what feminism is all about. I was somewhat taken aback, having grown up during the heyday of the Women's Movement of the 60's and 70's. As I thought about it more, I wondered if it's okay that feminism might not ...more
Becky
I read this book to fill in a square on my "book bingo sheet" that I'm doing with some friends, it filled in
"the first book by a favorite author."

And boy, was it ever a *first* book. It was stunningly original, as per the usual with Atwood, but it lacked her normal beautiful phrasing and structure. The characters were not as poignant as she usually writes them, but I feel like I could see the beginnings of Crake in Duncan, the lost soul of the unnamed Handmaiden in Marian, etc.

The symbolism o
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Jim
This is my second reading of this book and it holds up quite well. I'm a longtime fan of Atwood's writing and in this first novel, The Edible Woman, both the voice and themes of later Atwood are in evidence.

Marian, a college graduate, new to the working world and at the threshold of of being an adult woman in mid-60's Canadian society - that is, finding a suitable man for marriage and babies - is living with her roommate Ainsley, whose attitudes and actions go against the current Marian feels he
...more
Rafa
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La presión que reciben las mujeres para adaptarse a los usos de los hombre y sus formas.
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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
...more
More about Margaret Atwood...

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“What else can I do? Once you've gone this far you aren't fit for anything else. Something happens to your mind. You're overqualified, overspecialized, and everybody knows it. Nobody in any other game would be crazy enough to hire me. I wouldn't even make a good ditch-digger, I'd start tearing apart the sewer-system, trying to pick-axe and unearth all those chthonic symbols - pipes, valves, cloacal conduits... No, no. I'll have to be a slave in the paper-mines for all time.” 27 likes
“I always thought eating was a ridiculous activity anyway. I'd get out of it myself if I could, though you've got to do it to stay alive, they tell me.” 26 likes
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