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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

An excellent retelling!

Margaret Atwood reinvigorates Homer's classic by telling the other side of the story, albeit in a feminist perspective. Well done!

posted by caemin on July 16, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad was a good book to read if you wanted to know the background of the Odyssey. It explained the life of Penelope and Odysseus in their Kingdom of Ithaca. If you are looking for how Odysseus wanted to stay out of the Trojan War, then read this book. Howev...
The Penelopiad was a good book to read if you wanted to know the background of the Odyssey. It explained the life of Penelope and Odysseus in their Kingdom of Ithaca. If you are looking for how Odysseus wanted to stay out of the Trojan War, then read this book. However if you only wanted to read this book just for the heck of it, I would advise you not to. Throughout the whole book, Penelope is crying over how terrible her life is. She keeps living without Odysseus and cries every night about it. This book has way too much crying in my opinion. You read a page. You see crying. You turn a few more pages, you see more crying. This book is like a soap opera, in a book form.

posted by Anonymous on December 18, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    The Penelopiad

    The Penelopiad was a good book to read if you wanted to know the background of the Odyssey. It explained the life of Penelope and Odysseus in their Kingdom of Ithaca. If you are looking for how Odysseus wanted to stay out of the Trojan War, then read this book. However if you only wanted to read this book just for the heck of it, I would advise you not to. Throughout the whole book, Penelope is crying over how terrible her life is. She keeps living without Odysseus and cries every night about it. This book has way too much crying in my opinion. You read a page. You see crying. You turn a few more pages, you see more crying. This book is like a soap opera, in a book form.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

    de4we8

    A delightful tongue-in-cheek retelling of classic mythology.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    If you love drama you will love this

    The Penelopiad is all about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. Odysseus is the king of Ithaca which is an ancient Greek kingdom. Penelopy is considered able to get married at the age of 15 so her father sets up the arrangements to get her future husband onto his island. When the many suitors show up, one stands out: Odysseus of course. Odysseus cheats in the challanges to win Penelope and the following events after the marriage are exactly what the quote on the book says, 'Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives'. The author uses a very interesting method of story transition which, I'll admit, was very refreshing to see something knew. The entire story that you read is a recollection of Penelope. She is dead in the underworld while waiting to see if she will be sent to the good underworld or if she deserves to be sent to the bad underworld. So, the way the story transissions from one memory to the other is that it goes back to Penelope in the underworld and she talks a bit about what is going to happen. I thought this was a neat way to jump from part to part. Now, the downside: there was a bit too much drama in this book for my taste, hence the 3/5 but if you love drama check it out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    penelope speaks from hades

    most of us know about odysseus from reading the homeric epics or from whatever literature or mythology classes may have skimmed over in highschool or college. most of us don't really know much, if anything, about his wife penelope and the twenty year-long waiting she did for him to return from his journeys. in attwood's book, that two decade gap is filled by penelope's own telling. also, filled is a personal history that attwood embroiders from a compilation of sources, she claims, not all of homeric origin. overall, the book is fine. it does what it seeks to do: tell penelope's tales of woe borne from the isolation that ran like a current throughout her entire life. rather, in it, penelope 'speaks' to us. it's a first person narration, which wouldn't be so bad if it were just that: a retelling of events with some sidebar analysis and interweaving of personal feelings and such. however, mostly, it feels as if the story is second to penelope's own self-analysis. it's written in terms of present-day restrospection of what's thousands of years-past life lived. it's doubtful that it would take this long for penelope to begin thinking about her entire life--though, to be fair, she is most often cited for her patience in waiting for odysseus' return. still, the constant back-and-forthing of the narrative--from recollection to newly-realized connections, to descriptions of her afterlife, to broad skimming of lore--is all a bit slow-moving and, at times, uninteresting. perhaps it's that i antipicated a more exciting telling of the tale or, at least, a more thorough investigation of the story, the legends, the myths, than attwood's feminist perspective on homer's epic. it turns what's good 'fun' about legends into fodder for a women's studies course--which would've been fine, had i thought that's what i was getting into. i recommend the book for those of you who are looking for some social commentary or 'real'-ism of the penelope and hanging maids story. it's not bad by any means. i just wouldn't get it without flipping through the first couple of pages and considering if that's the style of story you were looking for.

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted January 3, 2011

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    Posted June 14, 2009

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    Posted August 21, 2010

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