I haven’t been as religious about attending book club this fall as usual, because working the same night has put a crimp in things, so last month, I stayed home. I was so happy to go back this month and spend the evening with my crew of book loving, wine-sipping, chat-all-nighting good friends.
This month, we were hosted by Elle in her new home, where we congregated around her lovely, giant kitchen and den for the evening. Elle is a serious reader who reads widely, and assesses books seriously (her Gleeful Reader blog has some wonderfully thoughtful and thorough reviews, should you be looking for something to read). This makes her both a great asset in that she has lots to contribute, and makes it a challenge to choose something she has not read yet! Luckily, Elle is also the kind of low-maintenance girl who doesn’t mind talking about something she’s already read. Elle is also the kind of down-to-earth, opinionated yet easy-going person who is just plain fun to hang around with.
Her pick was an interesting one for the group to talk about, centering as it does around parents of small children and the dysfunctions of a few marriages among a small group of them. This book has also been adapted into a movie, which Elle had playing as well, so that we could compare and play that evergreen game of Who Would You Have Cast?
Richard has fallen for a woman who posts her naked photos online, and has ordered a pair of her undies. Sarah, his wife, was already discontented in their marriage and in her sense of not fitting in with the suburban mothers around her before she found him with a thong over his face at the computer. It seems like permission for the affair she embarks on with Todd, who feels cut off from his wife, Kathy. A sense of failure doesn’t help him any, so when he finds Larry and the football team, he also starts a hidden life of midnight football. Between that and the affair, he feels more alive than he has in a while.
So, there they are, four people intermeshed in a potential mess. In the background is also a pedophile recently released and living in the area with his mother, and the target for Larry’s own pent-up frustrations. The novel is simmering with people who feel trapped and unfulfilled, who are looking for an outlet or an escape. The novel is not as taut as it could be, but has some twists at the end that satisfy, and there was certainly plenty of opinions to share about how we felt about the characters, their situations, and their reactions to them. I would suggest this makes a good discussion for a group of parents, definitely!
Also available as an ebook.