My favorite character in fiction is Elaine Risely. She is the main character in the book Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. There are many reasons this book has become one of my touchstone books. The themes presented about girlhood and the sometime discomfort of female adolescence rang true with me. Additionally, the themes of loss and love reach up through her narrative and for those who have experienced similar types of bereavement her writing penetrates to our common human core.

Cat’s Eye is often hailed as a feminist piece. Strangely, this is also what attracts me to the book because I do not consider myself a feminist by today’s definition. I like Elaine’s honest sort of feminism. Ms. Atwood is wryly honest about feminism and the path it has chosen to take. In the book, Elaine is a middle aged artist, probably one of the original feminists who came of age in the 60’s. As she interacts with the younger, hipper feminist women who have organized her gallery show she regrets with a humorous observation the course feminism appears to be taking by discerning the superficial trends its younger proponents seem to embrace. It is this honesty and ability to admit the flaws of modern feminism which attract me to Elaine. She does not renounce her feminism, yet Elaine seems to admit privately the power of feminism’s original tenants seem weakened. It is all about appearances. It is a truly honest assessment and this book was written in 1988! Now, don’t get me wrong, I doubt Margaret Atwood meant to disparage feminism, but she does view it honestly and fairly.

I leave you with my favorite quote from Cat’s Eye:

"… I began to think of time as having a shape, something your could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another. You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that. Sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away." Cat’s Eye is one of my all time favorite books.

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