July 21, 2016

July - Where Did The Time Go?

 Well, the past few months have certainly flown by! We were all so busy that May's meeting ended up being cancelled and we didn't really get a chance to talk about The Secret Daughter more than very briefly at our June meeting. Those who read it enjoyed it and I'm sure we would have had a good discussion about it if we'd all just finished it.

We had a better discussion about The Marriage of Opposites which we had just finished. For the most part, we all enjoyed the book and there were a lot of things to like about it. The imagery was amazing and the relationship between Rachel and Camille sparked a lot of discussion. Some were not aware that the book was based on the real life of artist Camille Pissaro. We felt like the changing focus of the book was a bit jarring and that the story of Jestine was not necessarily essential to the book although it helped to round out some parts. It's a book I think we'd recommend to other book clubs if for no other reason than the wealth of relationships explored.

This month we talked about Jesmyn Ward's Salvage The Bones. With our focus this year on Love and Learning, this one covers both topics. It's a book set way outside of our neighborhoods and there was a lot to think about when considering the life of the Batiste family. The Lisas talked about what it would be like to prepare for a catastrophe when your cupboards were already bare, you didn't have the money to stock up, and you didn't even have the ability to store water. Lisa W was having a tough go of it, but those of us who had finished recommended to everyone who had not to push on. It is sad and hard to read but there is some measure of hope in the love the children have for each other. And from the time the preparations start for Hurricane Katrina to the end of the book, things are tense and compelling. Ann and Lisa agreed that Ward does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are going through the storm with the family. The members were interested to learn that Salvage the Bones was partially inspired by Ward's own family's struggle to survive Katrina. We talked about the way the boys' interactions are very much like those of the dogs that they fight and the fact that poor, motherless Esch doesn't even seem to be aware that she is being abused by her brothers' friends without someone to tell her. That was hard to read for the mothers of young women. Again, this is a book with a lot to talk about and we'd recommend it for other book clubs.

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