Margaret Atwood – Moral Disorder

100_1264                It’s been a while since I was here and I realized that it’s mostly because of the book/collection of stores I’m going to review now. I felt since I read it I need to review it, but it’s been weighing heavily on my conscience, cause I’m still not sure what to write. I’m just hoping that something will come to me while I’m writing, cause I sort of just want to get it over with.

I have this problem with Margaret Atwood – I’m not sure whether I like her or am indifferent towards her. (No, I don’t hate her). Some of her books – like Handmaid’s Tale – are simply great and I couldn’t put them down. Others – I couldn’t even finish. I’m not one of those who have to finish the book if they started it – if I don’t like something I don’t bother, I don’t have too much time to waste on something that’s hard to read. I did finish these short stories, so they couldn’t have been that bad.

I guess my problem with this book is that it’s a collection of short stories. I’m not a fan of short stories usually (the exception being The First Thing The Baby Did Wrong by Donald Barthelme), cause I can’t get into the characters for some time, and when I do, the story’s over, and I have to get into other story all over again. For this reason reading this book took me like 4 weeks. And that’s coming from a person who was able to read a 600-pages fantasy book in one or two days.

Okay – since I’m kind of stalling; Moral Disorder, is a collection of short stories, some of them said in the first-person narrative, other in the third one. Regardless if it’s first or third narration, it’s about the same female protagonist at different stages of her life, from an 11-year-old child worried about her pregnant mother, to an older lady married to the same guy for many years, and knowing his habits inside and out. So, there was my one character I could follow and “get attached to.” Somehow, that wasn’t enough. But I guess I’m going to say something unexpected here – I do think every single one of these stories were good.

When I was younger I used to think that it’s impossible to say which book/short story etc. is good and which isn’t, because it’s a matter of taste. Now I’m saying these short stories are good. They really are in objective sense – probably as everything Margaret Atwood writes. Maybe that’s why I can’t hate her. She’s really good at what she does. The stories are different from each other, but together they are like an auto-biography, and they have a unity that I am not able to name. Even though in most cases they are a journey to the past, they are not sentimental; instead sometimes they are funny, sometimes dark, but always insightful. This is Margaret Atwood, after all.

Okay, I think I’m done here. I feel like a terrible writer now, cause I’m not able to put into words the mixed feelings I have for this book. Would I recommend it? Yes, of course. It’s worthy of reading, but there are some people I wouldn’t recommend it to. Like my friend who reads mostly fantasy, because she wants to relax and not think of anything sad or serious. So, this book is good, but it’s not for everybody.

Moral Disorder   At the end there’s a list of the stories:

  1. The Bad News
  2. The Art of Cooking and Serving
  3. The Headless Horseman
  4. My Last Duchess
  5. The Other Place
  6. Monopoly
  7. Moral Disorder
  8. White Horse
  9. The Entities
  10. The Labrador Fiasco
  11. The Boys at the Lab


PS One of the photos is the “official” cover that I downloaded from the net, the other is a Polish version had from my local library and that some people at my work called “pornography” (asking me “What exactly are you reading?”).



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