Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review -- The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe

The Book Club
by Mary Alice Monroe
Mira, 2008
368 pages
*I borrowed a copy from the library.

Summary (from Publisher's Weekly via Barnes and Noble): Monroe's (Girl in the Mirror) new novel opens as five friends, all members of a monthly book club, face turning points in their lives. Eve's husband dies suddenly, shattering her comfortable lifestyle, while Midge's mother makes an unannounced and unwelcomed reappearance. Annie finally feels ready to have a child, only to find her health and her marriage in jeopardy. Gabriella strains to make ends meet after her husband is laid off; Doris slides into depression as she tries to deny signs of her husband's infidelity. Sometimes close to and sometimes at odds with each other, the friends struggle to face harsh realities and, in the process, gain new independence.

Review: I had two big problems with this novel. First, I really don't think that I am the target demographic for this novel. Being in my thirties (without children) and reading about women and mothers in their late forties and fifties, I really had a hard time connecting with the characters. My other concern about this novel is the structure. The author spends a lot of time writing about certain members of the book club (such as Eve) and completely disregards others (such as Gabriella). Doris is a no show for many chapters as well. I would have enjoyed it more if there was more symmetry to the story lines and equal time given to the characters. Also, each chapter begins with a quote from the book that the club is reading at that time. Truthfully, I haven't read any of the books (except Pride and Prejudice) but most of the time I didn't understand how the quote and the book tied into the storyline. Other times, I felt the author beat me over the head with an explanation of how the book relates. I read this book for my book club and am looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this novel. For me, it just wasn't my cup of tea but I did read the entire book and found portions interesting (especially Doris's transformation). Rating: *1/2 out of 5.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I often find "book club" books or books based on a well rounded "classic" (read: Victorian)collections that I've marked off as perfectly dreadful are hard for me to "get". I have sort of obscure taste in reading and movie watching so the general popculture references, even popculture several centuries old are lost on me. Sorry this one didn't work for ya.