Besides being anti-cat propaganda in disguise and pushing that agenda on almost every other page with little “facts” at the bottom of each page (Atwood clearly cares more about birds and humans than cats), the story is mediocre and, quite frankly, boring.
I skimmed the end.
Besides their clothes magically disappearing when the shapeshifting characters change, it’s just poor storytelling.
But back to the pro-bird agenda/factoids. By now you all should know how I feel about labeling some animals as invasive species. Also, read this. But Atwood completely ignores the fact that cats have historically evolved with humans for a symbiotic relationship and humans are overpopulating the earth. Heck, our buildings’ windows kill more birds than cats. Seriously, watch this PSA video:
It’s not cats that are the biggest problem. If we, as a species, were to disappear overnight the cats wouldn’t be the biggest threat to birds. It would still be our buildings. If our buildings and us were to vanish, the impact of cats on birds would stabilize.
I’m so sick of the xenophobic rhetoric underlying approaches like this. Yes, I’m sure Atwood cares about birds and cats, but she’s still feeding into the anti-cat movement that kills cats.
Yes, cats kill birds. And other things. And each other.
Yes, it’s changing ecosystems (but because of us). But instead of striving for Nazi-like eco-purity, let evolution/survival of the fittest take its course, I say, because living alongside us humans will take animals who can adapt and not constantly suffer…
Also, one fact at the bottom of a page says that only 5% of lost cats are ever returned to their owners, because they are “probably dead, having been hit by car or mauled by an animal.” Bullshit. More cats are put down in shelters than dogs. Your cat didn’t just die of accidental causes. Shelters actively take in cats and kill them. I’ve volunteered at a shelter. I’ve watched what happens to them. They are killed because, quite frankly, dogs are viewed as more important in a shelter system. Don’t like a cat and need to make space? Call it feral and unadoptable. Boom. Easier to justify their death.
Fuck. This. Watered. Down. Book.
Sorry to rant, but this is something I feel passionate about.
Other goodreads reviews I agree with:
Let’s look at her intro: she emphasises in the first paragraph that she’s “an award-winning nice literary old lady” – and already there’s a sense of sneering condescension. She’s an award-winning literary writer – so what the heck’s she doing slumming it in the retarded comics world?!? She then name-checks a bunch of famous comics (she knows how to use Google!) before mentioning that “Spider-Man, who begat Wolverine” when it came to “psychologically complex characters with relationship problems”. Uh, what? How did Spidey beget Wolverine in any sense?
The exposition was was the kind of level you’d expect to see in a seven-year-old’s story – clunky, awkward and over the top. Who randomly goes up to the new person in the canteen at work and asks if they’re working on a secret project? Or, after two minutes of conversation with said newbie, reveals their theory that newbie’s predecessor was murdered? Actually, I’m imagining this happening at work for real (especially as we have a new person starting next week) and it’s kind of making me laugh.