I had my own share of problems with my mom during my teenage. I could completely relate to the girl in this story. My mom also said and did unbelievable things but as the girl in the story, I didn’t think she was a witch. Again, I don’t blame the girl, her mother was mysterious, her statements were bewildering and the aura was mystifying.
This short story kept me hanging till the end, I just wanted to know what was her mother’s actuality. I finished it in one shot and all I can say is it is a masterpiece. This was my first read by Margaret Atwood and I have turned into a uberfan of her writing.
Some lines that I loved in the book –
- My mother had a thing for blue in tableware; she said it warded off any evil eyes intent on ruining the food.
- Single strand of pearls, wild, not cultured. (Worth it, she said: only the wild ones had souls.)
- “Why would I care about the tittle-tattle of the uninformed? Ignorant gossip.”
- “They may not like me, but they respect me. Respect is better than like.”
I disagreed. I didn’t care about being respected—that was a schoolteacher thing, like black lace-up shoes—but I very much wanted to be liked. My mother frequently said I’d have to give up that frivolous desire if I was going to amount to anything. She said that wanting to be liked was a weakness of character.
- “The opposite of ‘mean’ is ‘doormat,’” she said. “When you’re tidying your room, don’t forget to collect the hair from your hairbrush and burn it. We wouldn’t want anyone malignant getting their claws on that.”
- I certainly didn’t want any pointing going on; pointing was how you directed a spell.
- Why had my father abandoned me? If he was still alive, why didn’t he at least write to me? Hadn’t he loved me even a little?
- “It’s hard living with someone who’s always right. Even when it turned out that she was. It can be . . . alarming.”
- “You were such a sensitive child. So easily wounded. So I told you those things. I didn’t want you to feel defenseless in the face of life. Life can be harsh. I wanted you to feel protected, and to know that there was a greater power watching over you. That the Universe was taking a personal interest.”
- The protector was her, the greater power was her, the Universe that took an interest was her as well; always her. “I love you,” I said.
Available on Amazon Kindle Edition and Audiobook.