Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Rejected Writers' Book Club

Title:  The Rejected Writers' Book Club
Author:  Suzanne Kelman
Publication Information:  Lake Union Publishing. 2016. 272 pages.
ISBN:  1503934144 / 978-1503934146

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "'Come and live in the country; you won't regret it!' The advertisement in a glossy real estate periodical improved us."

Favorite Quote:  "Verbal tennis is about the most exercise we get."

A family secret meets small town life meets Thelma and Louise is the essence of this book. I picked this book solely because of the cover and the title. For an avid bibliophile, the combination of authors (rejected or otherwise) and book clubs is hard to resist. The fact that the book makes a perfect, light-hearted beach read is an added bonus.

Meet Janet Johnson and the Rejected Ladies. Janet is a librarian (the book theme continues!) and a relative newcomer to Southlea Bay, Washington. She is looking for friendship and a place to belong. In her life are her husband, who seems to spend his time with household projects, in particular trying to capture raccoons on their property, and her daughter, who seems to be a bit high maintenance.

The Rejected Ladies are a club of Southlea Bay women who bond over two things. One, they are all storytellers. Second, publishers have rejected their manuscripts (more books!) multiple times, a fact that they have turned into a cause for celebration.

The adventure starts when a founding member Dorie violates the basic premise of the club. She is no longer a "rejected lady." Some publisher has the audacity to accept her manuscript. Worse, Dorie discovers that she has inadvertently included a secret in the manuscript. She needs to get that manuscript rejected and back because she must protect her secret and because her bond with the rejected ladies is more important to her than being published. She asks Janet and the Rejected Ladies for help.

Cue the road trip in a car crammed with people and a trunk full of frozen meals for the road. The road trip of course leads to further misadventures. Cue road closures, car breakdowns, forced hotel stays, and new relationships.

The book includes a lot of characters, from the Rejected Ladies and Janet to their families to the cast of characters they meet along the way. After a while, I stopped keeping track of who is who except for the two main characters - Janet and Dorie. The adventures of the rest tumble together, creating the community and warmth around Janet and Dorie. Some of the situations they find themselves in are sweet, and some are laugh out loud funny.

What happens in this book is not nearly as important as how it happens. The community and the bonds of family and friendship that stem from the Rejected Ladies are really what is at the heart of this book. Janet and her husband are a comfortable old married couple; shared love but separate refrigerators are the keys to their marriage. Janet is realistic about her daughter and loves her, aggravations and all. The Rejected Ladies come from different backgrounds and different perspectives; their friendship is their bond. They are tolerant of each other's foibles and stand behind each through everything. This book is full of the kind of friendships that, if you are lucky enough to find the, you hope you will hold on to throughout your life.

A sweet book that will leave you smiling.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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