The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

255_001The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood is the story of four women who met in college. Tony is a war obsessed professor who really enjoys spelling things backwards. Roz is a powerful, business savvy, college president. Charis is the new-age, disorganized, aura seeing health nut. Despite their disparate characters they are all brought together because of a common foe, the fourth college student, Zenia: the beautiful, manipulative stealer of husbands.

After Zenia dies they remain steadfast friends and, though they refuse to discuss her, they are all still haunted by her ghost. So they are not all that surprised when one day as they are having their special friend lunch Zenia walks into the restaurant, very much alive and well. They are now older and hopefully wiser, at least wise enough to outwit Zenia and her evil plans this time around.

If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be: Annoying.

The way it was organized? Annoying. First we read about a particular morning from Tony’s point of view. Then we repeat this for Charis. And once more for Roz. Each point of view reveals things about their pasts with Zenia. In theory, I like the approach, but in practice it was boring and didn’t go much of anywhere, repeating the same things over and over, moving the story along at a slug’s pace.

Character Development? Annoying. The author decided to give each character certain characteristics and then won’t shut up about it. Each sentence harps on it. For example, Tony is a very petite person. So we get to hear about her height with every other sentence. Her feet don’t touch the ground in the chair she’s sitting in. Her tiny teeth chew into a hamburger. The same goes for the other characters. We continually hear about how Roz is big-boned and a guilty Catholic. Charis is a bumbling fool who gardens and eats gross health food crap. If we mentioned all of these characteristics only once (because that’s all it takes!) and edited out the rest, this book would have been cut by 75%.

The characters themselves? Annoying. Everything I dislike they had. Weak, dumb, insecure, boring, naive. And let’s not forget Roz’s assistant who only speaks in famous quotes. If it were me in this book, instead of Zenia, I would not have just stolen husbands. I would have murdered each and every one of them.

The writing style? Annoying and comprised almost entirely of clichés. Here’s a snippet of one exchange:

“You stacked the deck,” says Roz.
“Oh please,” says Zenia. “It takes two to tango…”

Here’s some more!

“… she thought she was going to melt like a warm popsicle..”
“… nobody should be allowed out in public looking like that, it might cause car crashes…”

At times my chest would begin to tighten with anxiety as I felt myself getting progressively dumber with each word I read further into the book.

And the story itself? Annoying. It started off lame. It ended lame. Everything in between was pure torture.


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