Book Review of Alias Grace

Alias Grace
reviewed on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


While Im not all that familiar with Canadian writers, if Alias Grace is any indication of what Ive been missing by not reading more of Margaret Atwood, then I fully intend to go back for more. This novel had a lot going for it to begin with Atwood is obviously a talented writer with a knack for telling a compelling story. At the same time she expects the reader to do a fair share of the work as well. In this case were introduced early on to the fact that a terrible crime has been committed, but were not so sure that the woman who has been convicted of it really is guilty. Or (and here things get even more interesting) if she is guilty, was she really aware of what she was doing? Was she an unwilling partner in a crime she didnt want to commit but was forced to assist with in order to save her own life? Her story unfolds layer by layer and along the way we meet a cast of intriguing characters each of whom play an important part in helping us learn more about Grace and why she was imprisoned. Especially noteworthy is the character of Dr. Simon Jordon, a young doctor whose initial interest in Grace stems from his interest in new methods of treating persons with mental illness. Even though the novel was based on events that actually took place (there really was a Grace Marks who was tried for the murder of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery in 1843, sentenced to prison, ended up in the lunatic asylum for a while and was eventually granted a pardon) what I enjoyed the most about the book had to do with the way Atwood developed the plot through the eyes of the characters and the relationships they had with one another.