Book Review for “My Evil Mother: A Short Story” by Margaret Atwood.
Summary: “Life is hard enough for a teenage girl in 1950s suburbia without having a mother who may—or may not—be a witch. A single mother at that. Sure, she fits in with her starched dresses, string of pearls, and floral aprons. Then there are the hushed and mystical consultations with neighborhood women in distress. The unsavory, mysterious plants in the flower beds. The divined warning to steer clear of a boyfriend whose fate is certainly doomed. But as the daughter of this bewitching homemaker comes of age and her mother’s claims become more and more outlandish, she begins to question everything she once took for granted.”
Age: Adult; Genres: Speculative, Women, Fiction; Settings: Historical through Contemporary; Toronto, Canada; Other Categories: Short Story.
Okay, this is going to be a short review because this is a short story.
First, how did I find out about this new short story? I got an email from the Fanfiction site, and clicked on the link to Amazon, and saw that I could buy it with some of the money I had in my gift card there, so why not, right? I mean, you can’t go wrong with Atwood, now can you!
No, you can NOT, and that is the truth. This witty little story is only something like 40 pages long, but in it we hear the story of one woman and her relationship with her mother from when she is a young girl, through to her being a grown woman with teenage girls of her own.
Now, obviously, from the blurb, you can see that there’s an element of witchcraft in this story, but I’m not calling this a fantasy story, because if you read it, you’ll see that despite the references to magic, there’s no proof that the narrator’s mother really is a witch. Furthermore, I found the title to be ironic, but you’ll get why I say this if you read this story.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this mostly because I’ve always loved how Atwood writes. There’s something so open and direct about her writing that draws you in completely. Plus, I think that Atwood wrote this purely for fun (it was released on April Fool’s Day), and I really had to laugh at some of the scenes. But there’s also something very poignant about it as well, as it captures so purely the type of mother-daughter relationship that can be complex, but also very simple.
There’s not much more that I can say except that this is yet again proof that Atwood is one of the most talented writers around today. If you have a few pennies you can spare for this story, I strongly urge you to spend them on this, and I don’t think you’ll regret it. A full five out of five stars from me!
Margaret Atwood released “My Evil Mother” April 1, 2022. This is available (via the following affiliate link) exclusively from Amazon.