October 23, 2014

October: The Good House by Ann Leary

This turned out to be a great choice - thanks to those who had recommended it! It gave us a lot to talk about and has so many universal themes that, even when we got off topic (which we always do!) there was some way to bring us back to the book from what we were talking about.

Lisa likened Hildy to Olive Kitteridge but everyone else found Hildy to be much more likable, even though she kept making terrible choices. Of course, her "jackpots" got us all talking about our own memorable and not-so-memorable experiences with alcohol. Definitely some funny stories but we all knew that, like Hildy, we were lucky to have survived.

The ending was a hit with everyone. We loved that Leary had Hildy make the choice to go back to rehab but to leave it open ended so as to leave readers wondering if she would have more success that way. Because Hildy was such an unreliable character, we were also left wondering what was the truth, what she had imagined, and what she glossed over.

We spent a lot of time talking about Hildy's interaction with the other characters. Lisa wondered if she might have been in love with Rebecca but Ann felt it was more of a kinship. We all got a kick out of her relationship with her daughters. And Frankie! We all liked Frankie and found it interesting, as I'm sure Leary intended, that the townsfolk had such respect for Hildy, who was such a mess, but so little respect for Frankie, who was indispensable to all of them.

Cheryl listened to the book and highly recommended the audio version.

Next month, we'll ready Paula McLain's The Paris Wife. We spent some time talking about how we choose books and what we read. Since we have delved into some of the books we were looking at for next year already, there will be several slots open for suggestions. Lisa reminded everyone that it's best to have someone have already read the book so we know if it will make for good discussion.