It’s Not Me, It’s the Food: The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood


Marian MacAlpin is a normal 26-year-old working woman who, for reasons she doesn’t quite understand, begins to lose her appetite. Initially Marian believes that her distaste for food only encompassesEdible meat, but the aversion progresses so far that eventually she is unable to consume anything at all. Feeling a loss of control over herself and her life, Marian’s mind unconsciously controls the only thing it can: her diet. The novel focuses on the physical manifestations of psychological distress as Marian spirals into a state of personal disassociation made clear by the shift from first person to third person narration in the second part of the novel. The Edible Woman is an appetizing read, which portrays and evokes a sense of hunger for self-identity, self-control, and self-creation. The novel’s title refers to Marian herself, and to the novel’s surprising conclusion, which I won’t spoil for you.

Atwood, Margaret. The Edible Woman. 1969. Toronto, Canada: McClelland & Stewart, 2010. Print.

Written By: Teia Giacomello

Teia Giacomello is in her final semester of her English degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University; she plans to study Canadian literature at the Masters level.

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