Category Archives: The Peneloppiad

The Peneloppiad or How to Bore Someone to Tears for at least an hour…

So after I read When She Woke, I got all sorts of excited about Margaret Atwood again. I put a bunch of books on hold and waited with baited breath to see what came in. Unfortunately, the first thing to come up was The Peneloppiad, whose description left me excited but in actuality was AWFUL. I don’t mean like gosh I don’t like Greek poems and this is boring awful, I mean my eyes are bleeding- awful. I’m not sure if I’m conveying how much I didn’t like this book ūüėČ

Here’s the deal- Atwood decided to reimagine The Odyssey but from the point of view of Penelope. In case you aren’t up on your Greek epic poetry, Penelope was Odysseus’ wife. She was supposed to be the antithesis of Helen, she waited twenty years whilst her husband went off to fight a war, used trickery to win it, came back by some circuitous route, saved his men from Sirens, slept with a goddess to save himself and finally returned. When Odysseus returns to his home, he finds the place overrun by suitors who are literally eating him out of house and home. Understandably, he gets a little bit kill-happy and slaughters all of these rude men but then also decides to kill Penelope’s twelve hand-maidens by hanging them. All sounds interesting and exciting right? But instead of following that story, we get to stay with Penelope who has weird self-esteem issues owing to the fact that she is not as beautiful as Helen. Mostly, she doesn’t like being Odysseus’ wife or being head of household or anything. Interspersed with this story, we get to hear from the twelve hand-maidens who act as a sort of Greek chorus. If there is anything I loathe in books, it is written out songs….I’m looking at you- Tolkien! Nothing ruins a good book faster than a long epic song, but nothing makes a bad book¬†more unbearable than a Greek chorus. Ugh I hated this book, luckily it was only¬†150 pages¬†and¬†spaced out print so it only took up an hour of my life. I don’t even remotely recommend this book, this is a two shoe book – I’m only giving it that because it seemed like a cool idea, a little feminist perspective on the Odyssey. Please don’t let¬†this color your opinion of Atwood – she is normally a phenomenal writer – just read Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace instead¬†¬†of this nightmare…

Three Appeals : retelling of Odyssey, feminist perspective, I can only give you two…

Red Flags: Greek chorus – only with awareness can we stamp out this problem.

Anybody else read this? Did you hate this as much as I did?


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Filed under Atwood; Margaret, The Peneloppiad, two shoes