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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud Funny
I am not normally a fan of Margaret Atwood's writings. I often find that she is too dark or has too much edge. Not that it is not good writing, and she is probably currently the most famous of the living Canadian authors, she just isn't usually my thing. I cannot say that for this book.

The Penelopiad is a hilarious romp through a story that most of us know,...
Published on Sept. 9 2006 by Steven R. McEvoy

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, unusual read
I enjoyed the book, but admittedly it is not the type of book I often read. It was engaging and written more like a play than a novel. The book was laid out in an interesting way.

[...]
Published on Sept. 5 2009 by Carrie


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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud Funny, Sept. 9 2006
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Penelopiad (Paperback)
I am not normally a fan of Margaret Atwood's writings. I often find that she is too dark or has too much edge. Not that it is not good writing, and she is probably currently the most famous of the living Canadian authors, she just isn't usually my thing. I cannot say that for this book.

The Penelopiad is a hilarious romp through a story that most of us know, but told outside of time. There is an old saying that "dead men don't tell tales" and that may be true, but in this inventive retelling, a dead woman and her chorus of dead girls do just that.

Atwood has turned this myth on its head and told it from the female perspective. Unfortunately, our heroine is dead and in Hades, retelling her story from across the river Styx. She is telling her whole story but especially the events around Odysseus' long absence during the war against Troy and that unfortunate event with her cousin Helen.

The story is written in the format of a Greek Tragedy but with the humor and temperament of a comedy. Our chorus is the twelve dead maids, hung strung together on a ship's rope by Odysseus. They appear from time to time, in song, dance, or mock plays and trials to re-enact events from their lives to punctuate Penelope's story.

The twists and turns in this story will make you laugh out loud. A friend of mine who read it stated, "It begs to be read aloud." And I could not agree more. Pick up the book, get some friends together and read it aloud, over an evening or two together. Much fun will be had with the ghosts of our 13 dead ladies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Will Make you Laugh, July 19 2006
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I am not normally a fan of Margaret Atwood's writings. I often find that she is too dark or has too much edge. Not that it is not good writing, and she is probably currently the most famous of the living Canadian authors, she just isn't usually my thing. I cannot say that for this book.

The Penelopiad is a hilarious romp through a story that most of us know, but told outside of time. There is an old saying that "dad men don't tell tales" and that may be true, but in this inventive retelling, a dead woman and her chorus of dead girls do just that.

Atwood has turned this myth on its head and told it from the female perspective. Unfortunately, our heroine is dead and in Hades, retelling her story from across the river Styx. She is telling her whole story but especially the events around Odysseus's long absence during the war against Troy and that unfortunate event with her cousin Helen.

The story is written in the format of a Greek Tragedy but with the humor and temperament of a comedy. Our chorus is the twelve dead maids, hung strung together on a ship's rope by Odysseus. They appear from time to time, in song, dance, or mock plays and trials to re-enact events from their lives to punctuate Penelope's story.

The twists and turns in this story will make you laugh out loud. A friend of mine who read it stated, "It begs to be read aloud." And I could not agree more. Pick up the book, get some friends together and read it aloud, over an evening or two together. Much fun will be had with the ghosts of our 13 dead ladies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out Loud Funny, Dec 19 2005
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I am not normally a fan of Margaret Atwood's writings. I often find that she is too dark or has too much edge. Not that it is not good writing, and she is probably currently the most famous of the living Canadian authors, she just isn't usually my thing. I cannot say that for this book.

The Penelopiad is a hilarious romp through a story that most of us know, but told outside of time. There is an old saying that "dead men don't tell tales" and that may be true, but in this inventive retelling, a dead woman and her chorus of dead girls do just that.
Atwood has turned this myth on its head and told it from the female perspective. Unfortunately, our heroine is dead and in Hades, retelling her story from across the river Styx. She is telling her whole story but especially the events around Odysseus' long absence during the war against Troy and that unfortunate event with her cousin Helen.
The story is written in the format of a Greek Tragedy but with the humor and temperament of a comedy. Our chorus is the twelve dead maids, hung strung together on a ship's rope by Odysseus. They appear from time to time, in song, dance, or mock plays and trials to re-enact events from their lives to punctuate Penelope's story.
The twists and turns in this story will make you laugh out loud. A friend of mine who read it stated, 'It begs to be read aloud.' And I could not agree more. Pick up the book, get some friends together and read it aloud, over an evening or two together. Much fun will be had with the ghosts of our 13 dead ladies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different side of Margaret Atwood., Jan. 2 2010
By 
B. A. Scharf (BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Paperback)
I must admit that I've never been much of an Atwood fan. Every once in a while I'll tackle another of her "classics" (for the feminist-leaning Canadian woman Atwood is required reading, is she not?!)but sadly each time the experiment ends with me feeling vaguley suicidal - life is soooo bleak for an Atwood heroine!

Well, Penelope's fate is bleak as well. The Penelopiad is written from beyond the grave, as it were, with a continued Greek chorus (literally) made of her hanged maids.

But it is a very funny, very clever, and quite thought-provoking story as well. Atwood is certainly a more-than-competent writer, and one gets the sense that she was feeling quite playful when she penned this little volume.

I'm having a hard time deciding on 4 stars or 5 with this one. It deserves 5 for some of the passages of Penelope in the underworld - very nicely done - but I think 4 is a more accurate rating of my overall enjoyment of the story. Repetitive in spots, and we are ceaselessly flogged with Atwood's messages about female oppression. Enough already - we GET it, Margaret!

Is this a wishy-washy review? Not really meant to be - the book is definitely worth a read. Quick and easy, and leaves one smiling rather than suicidal - always a bonus with this author, don't you think?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very smart and witty novel., Jan. 15 2010
This review is from: The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book and honestly I wasn't expecting to for some reason. Definitely funny, interesting and thought provoking. One of Atwood's best. Expect to question everything you have been taught.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, unusual read, Sept. 5 2009
By 
Carrie "Carrie" (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book, but admittedly it is not the type of book I often read. It was engaging and written more like a play than a novel. The book was laid out in an interesting way.

[...]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, Sept. 18 2007
This review is from: The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Paperback)
Atwood is in fine form in this retelling of the Odyssey. Her writing is sharp but humourous and many of the images stayed with me for long after I had finished the book. A knowledge of the classics is not necessary to enjoy this novel.

Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Retelling of a Classic, June 8 2007
By 
R. Morier "Coco4nuts" (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Paperback)
I think this book does not get the credit it deserves. From a time where mainly all classic stories were told from a male perspective, finally, readers are enlightened by a tale where the woman is legend in her own right.

This book goes beyond the ordinary tellings of a good-natured wife: dutiful, patient, and faithful. Rather, instead twisting Penelope into some sort of a rebellious figure, Atwood stays true to Homer's story. Atwood reinforces Homer's character with greater zeal - Penelope has much to overcome to uphold her good-natured housewife identity. She feels much more real, more tangible than any other mythical figure ever told. Atwood's ability to create characters like Penelope is one her best gifts.

A humourous, smart and cunning story. Personally, I felt much satisfaction after reading this book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It was Entertaining but lacked the oomph..., July 17 2006
It was entertaining but if you look beyond the superfluous things she mentioned, there isn't much depth in the book.

It's like an action movie or a girl-flick , it's not the greatest nor is it the worse, but it does its job in entertaining people. Same here. I read this before The Odyssey for a project at school and that was a mistake.

I think fans of The Odyssey will see this book as an interesting look at Atwood's interpretation of what it must have felt like if she were Penelope. But really, after reading The Handmaid's Tale, I expected Atwood to have a very deep and moving kind of book.

This book is not it. However, it is an entertaining book if you want to read something. It's better than most.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Atwood's Regression, Feb. 13 2006
By 
Dr. G. Garrard "doktorgreg" (Bath, UK) - See all my reviews
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I am a huge Atwood fan. Out of my mental 'Top 10' of great books, she occupies two or three of the top spots every time. I teach a whole course on her at my Uni in the UK, and her books may be found on other courses including Canadian Lit, Historical Fiction and Writing the Environment. Some of our students say we should be called the Department of Atwood Studies.
OK. So I was excited by the prospect of a new Atwood book, with a nifty 'counter-writing' angle that would put it alongside classics such as Jean Rhys's 'Wide Sargasso Sea', 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' by Tom Stoppard and South African writer JM Coetzee's haunting rewriting of 'Robinson Crusoe' 'Foe'. 'The Penelopiad' is, however, a thoroughly bad book that is characterised by limp writing, cheap 'jokes' and a relentlessly trivialising approach to the 'Odyssey'. At best, it reads like a pretty good undergraduate counter-writing exercise dating from, say, 1974. The feminist angles are ponderous and predictable, giving no sense at all that Homer's great work has been confronted and imaginatively transformed. Even Atwood's legendary facility with similes seems to have deserted her in the writing of this commissioned piece. It's no better than the lightly funny 'Gertrude Writes Back', and rather worse than a whole host of other feminist counter-writings in poetry and prose. The only good thing about the book is that it acts as reminder that even the immortal Atwood is capable of writing a clunker, which I suppose is some sort of reassurance.
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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (Paperback - Aug. 15 2006)
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