November 19, 2015

November - Lila

Sorry, Marilynne Robinson, this one was not a hit with our group. We know it's up for a lot of awards but for the life of us, we can't quite figure out why. As easy as last month's long book was to read, this book, at just 190 pages, was much more difficult. Not one chapter break, not a lot of dialogue, not much at all to break up the read. Plus it moves back and forth in time constantly. For those who were at the meeting who had not read the book yet, those of us who had told them to just skip it.

For those of us who had read Robinson's Gilead, this book made some more sense, if only for the fact that you came away from that one knowing that Lila would stay, at least while John was alive. Here, Robinson gets all the way to the end and, even though we know that Lila loves John, we are still not sure what will become of her and her son. Yes, yes, we get that Robinson is saying that sometimes we can't overcome our past. And it's clear that Lila never really fits into Gilead, as much because of her past as because she just really doesn't seem to want to do that.

Lila is a woman whose had a very tough life, no doubt, which is bound to leave scars. But Ann found her very unlikable and, therefore, hard to care about. Lisa and Cheryl agreed that she is hard to care about. Even though she's clearly looking for someone to love her, she's always incapable of trusting someone enough to love them fully.

As a book club choice? While there's plenty here to discuss, clubs might find it hard to convince people to read it. Cheryl and Lisa both, though, highly recommend Gilead which is lovely and spiritual and talks a lot about religion without seeming to be overly religious. Lila seemed to get weighed down in scripture.

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