July 23, 2015

June and July - The Rosie Project and Big Little Lies

So June ... and a book that a lot of us had read before June leaving us less able to speak about the details of the book and more able to just discuss the book in generalities. We all enjoyed the book which is both good and bad - no one has to read a book they'd rather not have spent the time on but then there is little to debate.

We did talk about life as someone dealing with Aspergers, including how living with someone as structured as Don might not be such a bad thing if he could, as he did, begin to structure his life in a way that fit so-called "normal" life better. None of us had much experience with Aspergers so it was difficult for us to determine how realistic Samson's story was.

With a friend like Gene, infidelity, of course, came up. We talked about what might make a woman like Claudia stay with someone like Gene and how he had mistreated Don by using The Wife Project for his own purposes.

We wondered if someone as free-spirited as Rosie would have fallen for Don and if it were realistic to think that they might have been just what the other needed. It seemed to us that they might have been.

July's discussion was much more lively - Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies was another hit and something we could all relate to what with having, once upon a time, young children. As usual, one of the highlights of our discussion was Linda's notes about the things she found particularly funny in the book. Nancy's favorite quote? "Champagne is never a mistake." Very true!

We talked a lot about what makes women care so much about the way they look - is it for men? each other? themselves? Each of the women in the book seemed to use her looks for her own purposes. Linda told how her older brother used to tell her that she was ugly and how that impacted how she felt about her life and how that caused her to decide that she would be the funny one if she wasn't going to be the pretty one. Grace shared that she had felt similarly when she was young, deciding that if she weren't going to be the thin one, she'd be the friendly one. We all agreed that the old saying "stick and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" was a complete falsehood. It hasn't been true in our lives and it certainly wasn't true for Jane.

We talked about how Celeste's and Jane's walks on the beach allowed them to become friends on an even footing and how Celeste seemed to find her wealth as much as burden as a blessing. Most people's favorite character was Madeline, appreciating her willingness to always stand up for others and to fight to right a wrong, although Lisa pointed out that she was shallow in many ways.

There was some discussion about whether or not it was plausible that Jane would not have looked up Saxon Banks in the last six years and that all of the ladies who had been fighting for so many months were able to come together so easily at the end. The last bit was easier to accept, feeling as we did that women will always side with women when a man like Perry is involved.

As much as most of us had enjoyed Moriarty's previous novel The Husband's Secret, we all enjoyed this one more. What impressed Ann and Lisa was the deft touch Moriarty has with very heavy subjects (in this case, a book full of violence). She is able to be import the gravity of the issue while utilizing plenty of humor to keep the book from getting overly serious. We all enjoyed the interview pieces that Moriarty included at the beginnings or endings of the chapter that helped keep readers guessing as to what exactly had happened at Trivia Night.

Other book clubs may talk longer about the books they read but this one has become a group of friends that can easily get off topic. Even when we weren't talking about this book, though, it lead us down trails of discussions about the ways the situations in the book happened in our own lives. We learned a lot about each other. And that can never be a bad thing.