Elaine Risley now middle aged and quite an acclaimed artist does not seem to be able to move forward. She is trapped in the trauma of childhood trauma inflicted on her by her so called best friend Cordelia. Elaine quite different to the average little girl, also comes from a background which is very different - her mother does not dress like other mothers, her mother does not behave like other mothers and her father also does not conform. For this, Elaine is bullied by a trio of little girls - Cordelia, Grace and Carol and being of a temperament which cannot return the quips and barbs, Elaine silently accepts everything dished out to her.
Fast forward some years and we find the positions reversed. Elaine is quite successful, and Cordelia is in a mental institution. The entire story is like this going backwards and forwards - for me its not a book that will draw you in quickly. It was one which was a slow start but midway you do want to know how this is going to turn out for not just Elaine but for everyone around her and then it keeps you on the hop!
I have read just one Atwod - The Handmaid's Tale and this book is an absolute contrast which was a surprising discovery for me. A book which should be read when one has time. Not to be skimmed through.