Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Accidental Book Club

  The Accidental Book Club
Author:  Jennifer Scott
Publication Information:  Berkley. May 6, 2014. 368 pages.
ISBN:  0451418824 / 978-0451418821

Book Source:  I read this book as a selection of a local book club.

Opening Sentence:  "Jean Vison dumped a fistful of chopped roasted red peppers into a pan of macaroni and cheese, and stirred, hoping doing so would make her dish pass as 'gourmet.'"

Favorite Quote:  "God. How was that possible? How was it possible that they'd lived an entire lifetime together and had never gotten around to jotting up to Wyoming for a long weekend? What had they been doing with the time instead? ... Pointless chores, or weekends spent in silence over some silly disagreement or running children to birthday parties of kids they didn't even know. Why did they choose those things? Why did they construct a life of tedium, always putting off wishes and dreams for another day that ultimately would not come?"

The Accidental Book Club was a monthly read for our book club. Our member who selected it said she chose it for the title, the description, and the role a (or really our specific one) book club plays in our lives. I completely and whole heartedly agree!

This book club, likes ours, discusses books, of course. However, the conversation ventures so much further into the lives of each member. The group of women provide support, wisdom, experience, friendship, laughter, and a shoulder to cry on.

Jean, Loretta, Dorothy, May, Mitzi, and Janet are such a group. Each is at a different stage of her life and dealing with their own unique issues. Loss of a spouse. Illness of a child. Divorce. Dating. Troubled grandchild. Yet, somehow, this group comes together to provide each what even their own family perhaps does not. They becomes a family of their own choosing.

The premise of the book resonates as I am fortunate enough to have a supportive sisterhood such as this one. The emotional support in it resonates. 

However, the characters themselves and the situations I find less real. Some things such as the author visit are over the top. Some things such as the turnaround of a troubled teen seem to easily resolved. In addition, some of the character's inability to speak up for themselves was frustrating (think doormat!).

Although the book is based around the club, ultimately, it is mostly Jean's story. It is about her daughter's alcoholism and disintegrating marriage. It is about the two adults in the relationship - Laura and Curt - and their inability to parent or even care for their own daughter.

In the middle of all of these women with their angst, Bailey, the angry, acting-out, seeking-attention ends up my favorite character. That is perhaps because she is the one who evolves the most during the course of the book. Her change from a surly troubled teen into a seemingly happier, sunnier teenager is dramatic and   somewhat contrived. Nevertheless, it is the evolution of a character that keeps the interest in the story. It makes her perhaps the most developed of the character (not that that is saying much in this case).

Books with "book" or anything "booklike" in the title always draw me in. I might have picked this book up even if not the choice of my book club. It was a quick and easy read and "okay." Knowing what meaning being in a book club has for me, I expected and hoped for more.

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

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