Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Eight people attended the January book club for Lucky Us by Amy Bloom.  One person is quoted as saying she is "wishy/washy" on how she really liked it and wondered why the author picked the title as "Lucky Us."  She said she even wondered why the zebra was on the lion on the book cover.  She summarized it as Eva had managed their life together and, at the end, we are a family and lucky to have each other.  One member thought the title might be written sarcastically "lucky us," we got out of this.  Many commented that they didn't like it, didn't hate it, probably wouldn't recommend it.  One person read another of Amy Bloom books and liked it. Read reviews and thought she would be 'blown away' by this book and she wasn't.  She felt the "writer knew how to tell a story" but she didn't like the characters.  Another said, "I thought it was interesting, but took awhile to get into it, not a big fan of the lifestyle or some of the characters." 

It was good to see how Eva handled the situation.  Someone in the group said they thought Eva was a heroine, with everything she went through.  

We discussed the family life of Eva and Iris.  We were shocked by her mother, surprised by Dad and the other characters that made up the family.  We felt Eva was the stable one in the family, "she couldn't tell anything bad" and "made it believable and possible."  We talked about the sisters relationship. Iris was older, she wasn't a mother to Eva, though. "A sister's responsibility isn't the same as a mother" someone said.  "Eva was concerned with others, Iris was concerned with herself" another shared.   We did like the ending when all those who were close to Eva were together.

Still Life by Louise Penny, December 2016

Fourteen members attended this month's book club with some good eats to share, meeting somewhere other than Park Grove Library.  The group had a good discussion on Still Life.

We introduce ourselves and shared what we thought about the book.  I was only there for this first part of the discussion so will share what people thought.  Several members said they will be reading her other books or already have.  It was a great choice many agreed.

Most liked it or loved it.  It was a good mystery, and one person said, I usually don't care for mysteries, but found this fascinating.  Most liked Inspector Armand Gamache.  A few people mentioned they liked the humor in the book, the little tidbits of life.  There was good character development.  One person said they image of Jane's house.

Three Pines, near Montreal was the setting and many loved that scene, the placement for the book.  One person said she would love to visit it, although it is fictional.  Another member said she lived in that area and it is as described.

Another member touched about the conflict in that area with franco or english language, not realizing it is such a division.  Someone who had lived in the area shared that the French were considered the lower class, the English above.  

I liked in the book, the character Myrna, who had been a psychologist in Montreal before getting to Three Pines.  She had a book shop and I liked when she shared her thought about change. She was talking about a book titled "Loss, by Brother Albert.  This is from page 139 in the paperback:  "Most of us are great with change, as long as it was our idea.  But change imposed from the outside can send some people into a tailspin.  I think Brother Albert hit it on the head.  Life is loss.  But out of that, as the book stresses, comes freedom.  If we can accept that nothing is permanent, and change is inevitable, if we can adapt, then we're going to be happier people."  

I also liked that Ruth Zardo (fictitious character) was a poet quoted in the book, often  
"Who hurt you, once,
so far beyond repair
that you would greet each overtune
with curling lip?

When were these seeds of anger sown,
and on what ground 
that they should flourish so,
watered by tears of rage, or grief?

It was not always so."

Another poet was quoted, W. H. Auden, Herman Melville  This one was quoted in the book and helped to solve the mystery of who did kill Jane.  
Towards the end he sailed into an extraordinary mildness,
And anchored in his home and reached his wife
And rode within the harbour of her hand,
And went across each morning to an office
As though his occupation were another island.
Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge
His terror had to blow itself quite out

 Evil is unspectacular and always human,
and shares our bed and eats at our own table.