Balloons! Unicorns! Rainbows! Heralds of singing angels etc!
Yes, for the first time this summer, book club was actually able to take advantage of the wonderful balcony at Le Lacustre and sit outside for this month’s meeting. Of course, the beautiful weather combined with the good food and idyllic view (and great company of course) meant that rather more rose that normal was consumed. No bad thing.
This month we welcomed both Jenny and Valentine to the group (memo to self: still much come up with nicknames to distinguish Valentine and Valentina). The theme this month was “food” and so, thanks to our unusual form of democracy, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg was chosen.
This book was a bit like being an expat in Switzerland. You had those people who loved it. You had those who hated it. You had those who hated it to start with and then suddenly realised that they loved it. In the end, the book received a very respectable 6.5 on the Lausanne Book Club scale.
Comments from the group included: “a book you need to read in the summer”; “Ninny was well named”; “Why did it take so long to get good?”; “This book was incapable of keeping my interest”; and “touching”.
As expected, some of the themes of this novel sparked interesting and heated debates amongst the book club group. Race, the role of women, lesbianism, the ways of the south, and, somewhat strangely, health and safety, were all bought up to varying degrees.
The narrative structure of the book divided the group – some liked the idea of connecting all the dots and weaving a story out of all the different threads. For others, that was just another annoying element of the book. Some people felt that the timeline became a character in its own right (and, some argued, one of the more interesting characters)
I fully admit my knowledge of the Deep South of the US is lacking. My only experience of it has been dancing the Texan Two-Step with an old boy in a dive bar in Austin. Not really rural south. It’s always interesting, therefore, when one of the group has a knowledge that others don’t (I like to flatter myself that I’m the group’s Kenya expert – as I bored people with when we read Out of Africa). It is still amazing to me at the separate world the deep south seems to be – even more so in the time of the novel’s writing. It was therefore insightful to hear about people’s perceptions on being gay, being promiscuous, women, conversing with African-Americans, the Klan, marriage, and food (of course!)
I think after a while, there were so many different and interesting conversations going on that I stopped taking notes and started listening instead. As is likely to become a tradition, here are some random phrases I wrote down for apparently no reason whatsoever.
- Health and Safety (ed: I think this had to do with the untimely end of Frank. In no way connected to George’s delicious BBQ)
- I’m my own Grandpa (ed: yeah, I’m not sure on this one. It was apparently hilarious at the time)
- Dutchess of Kent? Fergie? (ed: answers on a postcard please)
- Evelyn – middle aged whiney woman or woman who finds herself? (ed: one of my more useful notes)
Until August chums 🙂