The great thing about book club is the fact that every month we seem to add new people to the core group, we welcome back newbies from last month, and the core of the group continues to grow. This week, we had two newcomers (Hi Hannah, Meg!) join the group. It was great to see some familiar faces (Gemma, Jess, Kelly B) welcome back some long lost friends (hey Courtney) and see some returning members (salut Patricia, hi Sarah!)
Last month’s book was Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, chosen by… me (there have got to be some perks of running book club, right?)
Conversation about the book was slightly hindered by the fact that our usual lovely quiet haunt seemed to be have been transformed into a underground club for the evening. There was a raucous party of very Swiss men taking selfies, a dubious Spanish singer (sadly being encouraged by everyone but our table) and some form of rave music playing. As a result, no one could really hear what anyone was saying and while I tried to play translator for a while, in the end we gave up, and retired to Le Comptoir to finish our wine.
None the less, we managed to talk about a few things:
- The majority of the group liked the book and liked Rowell’s style of writing (oh, if you do like her writing, I would really recommend you pick up Fangirl. It’s a great little story)
- There were disputes over whether the relationship between Eleanor and Park was friendship or more. If it was true love, would they have fought more for it?
- We had a good discussion about the nature of domestic violence, mental health issues and abuse. Why did Eleanor’s mother stay with Richie? Did she forget her children or was everything she did done in order to protect them? Was this portrayal of life more realistic?
- Park’s sexuality – was he gay? Was he just expressing himself in the way of the time? Was he rebelling against his father and upbringing? Answers not established.
- Why did Eleanor leave her siblings? Was it selfish? Was it because she was in survival mode? Was this the only reason she could see to protect them – by surviving?
Finally – we talked about the “three words” at the end of the novel. A couple of suggestions from “I love you” to “Park, just stop” but I think the one which resonated the most with the group was “I miss you”.
Also discussed this week:
- The French for frog, squirrel, and straitjacket
- The book club’s new motto – there will always be wine
- Whether book club has enough professions should the apocalypse happen (we have doctors, lawyers, social workers, event managers, and someone to update facebook amongst others)
Apologies again for the very noisy venue. Jess and I are going to put our heads together and come up with a new option. It’s likely that we’ll take over Le Comptoir and order in food from across the road. More info in the next email.
September’s book is This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Poor Judd Foxman returns home early to find his wife in bed with his boss – in the act. He now faces the twin threats of both divorce and unemployment. His misery is compounded further with the sudden death of his father.
He is then asked to come and ‘sit Shiva’ for his newly deceased parent with his angry, screwed-up and somewhat estranged brothers and sisters in his childhood home. It is there he must confront who he really is and – more importantly – who he can become.
Funny, moving, powerful and poignant, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU is the fabulous follow-up to HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER and Jonathan Tropper at his best.