Book Club discussion: ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl

The Society of Readers Across the Hudson (SARAH) Book Club met this week in unusual fashion. We went virtual, meeting via video conference to discuss the childhood favorite of “Matilda” by Roald Dahl.

Many of us had read “Matilda” as children and enjoyed the reread of it, though some of us had a different perspective on it, now that we were older. I think there was one person who thought that book was inappropriate for children given the child abuse and neglect that was depicted in the book. But as another countered, who has had experience with child abuse, it is a book of wishful thinking. And I have to agree, as you can only hope that Matilda’s environment would only get better. Thank goodness for Ms. Honey!

I think most bookworms relate to Matilda because of her voracious love for books. Though, some of us were skeptical about her age. Don’t get me wrong, there are some young kids that learn to read early. But we found it hard to believe that a 5-year-old would not only be able to find her way to the library by herself, but be able to read the books that she was reading at such a young age. Granted, in the book, she depicted as a genius, but still, we thought it more likely for a 7-year-old.

Many of us had also seen the movie with Danny Devito and Mara Wilson and we were all in agreement that the movie adaptation did the book its justice. I must say that most say of the adaptations for Roald Dahl’s books are pretty good. Some that come to mind are “Witches” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” though it has to be the Gene Wilder movie version. The one thing I enjoyed about the movie more than the book was the section where Matilda learns about her secret power. I thought it was very vague in the book but it was so well depicted in the movie. I have to watch it whenever it’s on. It always makes me feel better.

We then discussed how “Matilda” is also one of the few children’s book that has a strong female main characters and listed some others, including my favorite, “Harriet the Spy.”

Overall, I thought it was a good discussion considering the circumstances and I think we all appreciated such a light read for the month. As we don’t know how long this “lockdown” will continue, next month, we all get to read a nonfiction book of our choosing. Now what to read?


Have you read “Matilda?” What did you think? Let’s discuss!

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

*Warning: This review contains a lot of references to “vagina”. Don’t be scared. It’s a medical term for crying out loud.

I had heard about the “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler, but honestly I never thought I would actually read them or go see the play. I had a vague idea what it was about and I could take it or leave it. So I was seriously surprised when one of my book clubs chose this for February. They have a general rule of not picking thinks that are estrogen fueled. Yet, they seemed to think it would make for a good conversation. I was curious enough so I shrugged and went for it.

All I can say is WOW! I definitely see why this book, or play as it really is, needs to be read. Because even though it was written in the 90s, it’s message still applies today. I am guilty of feeling all the ways Ensler accuses society of feeling when they hear the word “vagina”, and boy does she say it a lot.

“I say it because I believe that what we don’t say we don’t see, acknowledge, or remember. What we don’t say becomes a secret, and secrets often create shame and fear and myths. I say it because I want to some day feel comfortable saying it, and not ashamed and guilty.”

What she says is so true because even reading this book in the year 2020, I couldn’t help feel a bit uncomfortable reading it. I could only think of my own family where anything that has to do with the female body is supposed to be a secret. Forget “vagina”, my father thought it blasphemous to even say the word “period” in front of him. When I did finally get it, my mom told him “your daughter became a woman” and when I had cramps I had to refer to it as having “women’s issues”. I had to wait for the men to leave the room just so I could talk about it with my mom. So imagine, getting into a long-term relationship with a man, where inevitably the topic is going to be brought up. I was embarrassed at first to even mention it, but thankfully he was understanding, and knowing that it didn’t bother him was reassuring to me.

Each monologue delves into a different issue that has to do with that all knowing body part. Ensler forces you to get downright personal with it. Some of the interviews are outright hilarious. I particularly like the answers to the questions, “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” and “If your vagina could talk, what would it say in two words?”

We have come a long ways since this play was first written. We are more accepting to women’s issues but there is still more that we need to do, which is why this play will continue to be important. It also brings to light some of the more serious consequences of having something like a female body part become taboo. By not acknowledging that woman have vaginas and what that body part does or doesn’t do, you are also not acknowledging the things that shouldn’t be happening, such as sexual violence. It’s an issue the continues to plague women across the world.

“And as more women say the word, saying it becomes less of a big deal; it becomes part of our language, part of our lives. Our vaginas become integrated and respected and sacred. … And the shame leaves and the violation stops…”

Did this review make you feel uncomfortable? All the more reason why you should probably read it. This will be really interesting to talk about in our book club discussion, especially with the guys. I wonder how many will actually read the book.

 

 

 

 

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Barnes and Noble is getting better and better at picking books for their book club. I knew from the moment that I got this that “Dear Edward” was going to be one of those books that stuck with me. After reading this book, I had a hangover for a good day or two. I didn’t know what to read next.

“Dear Edward” is about a boy named Eddie who is on a flight to Los Angeles from New York. The flight crashes and he is the only survivor. But how do you get over an accident that you don’t completely understand and that took everything you loved? Eddie struggles to build a new life with new people while holding to the memories of those he lost.

“Dear Edward” is one of those books where the trauma happens in the beginning and then the reader has to piece what happens next to the moments that lead up to the trauma. Those moments took place on a plane and for me, it was a struggle. I am an anxious flyer so every time the author jumped back to the plane, I was anxious, knowing that any minute the accident was going to occur. Yet, the plane was one of my favorite parts about this book. Napolitano proceeds to follow five of the passengers. Have you ever been on a plane or even in a crowded room and just studied the people around you? Wondered what their lives were like? Tried to figure out who they were without even talking with them? Napolitano gives you a glimpse into those lives and makes you realize that everyone has their own story, their own reasons why they are going where they are going, whether for love or loss, business or pleasure, to die or to live.

It was sad to see how Eddie, or Edward as he is known after the accident, stuggles to make sense of the question of why he was the only one to survive. His pain radiates throughout the story and leaves your heart feeling heavy as if you too have also lost people. But he isn’t the only person to struggle. His uncle does research about the accident but keeps it away from Edward because he doesn’t think he can handle it. Yet it is the thing that makes him heal, as well as his relationship with Shay.

Immediately after coming to live with his Aunt and Uncle, Eddie struggles to sleep in the house, knowing that his mother used to visit there and that his aunt has had her own struggles. He proceeds to camp out at the neighbors house where he meets Shay, a girl his age who is the only person he feels comfortable with.

” ‘I like her.’ Even though like has nothing to do with it. Shay feels like oxygen to him. He doesn’t like oxygen; he requires it.”

Shay helps Edward begin to understand what happened to him, comparing him to Harry Potter. Like Harry, Edward becomes an orphan that goes to live with his aunt and uncle. Like Harry, Edward survives something he shouldn’t have. It is the first step. Shay does more for Edward than his own therapist is able to.

Gradually Edward begins to deal with what happened and when his uncle isn’t looking, does his own research. It eventually leads him and Shay to uncover the letters, all addressed to him. These letters are what finally gives Edward purpose and makes this book so bittersweet. He learns that while he is the only survivor and he has his own struggles, he wasn’t the only person to have lost people. He realizes that everyone on the flight had family and loved ones that are struggling.

This book left a lasting impression on me in more ways than one. It was too bad that I missed the discussion on this book because I would have loved to know if it left the same impression. I would definitely recommend this book.


Have you read “Dear Edward” yet? Let’s discuss!

 

 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollen

Given that November is all about food, “In Defense of Food” was this month’s pick for the Society for Avid Readers Across the Hudson (SARAH) Book Club and to be honest I was a little hesitant about it. I really didn’t want another book to tell me what I should be eating and why. But this book was a bit different.

For the most part, Pollan goes into the history of the food industry in the United States and how it has changed since the 50s. Why even though we claim to have “healthier” food, we have become more of an unhealthy society. He discusses how food has changed from what our mothers used to make, to food that is now loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients that even though they claim to be “low fat” “low carb” “sugar free” etc., they are actually the opposite.

Early on in the transformation challenge that I joined at my gym this fall, my trainer actually gave us food advice. One tip was not to read the packaging on food because it was all false. Rather, she encouraged us to read the nutrition labels and the ingredients to see what we were actually eating. It is amazing all the unknown ingredients that we put into our bodies every day and don’t even realize it. So reading this book reinforced what my trainer was actually saying and went into further detail how the food industry, the media, and the government all played in a role in how we think about food.

In addition, Pollan talks about the healthy food that we have in our supermarkets, i.e, produce, which is not as healthier as it was 50 years ago. Between the pesticides and the stuff that we put into it so that we import it from other countries means our produce has lost some of its nutritional value. Furthermore, meat has also changed given that animals are now fed on a corn and soy diet. Our beef used to have marbling, aka fat, that is actually good for us. However, because scientists seemed to think at one time, that this type of “fat” was the sole reason for our rising heart disease, animals were fed a leaner diet to become …you guessed it…lean. He goes on to explain why this happened and even uses a term called Nutrionism, which is too complicated for me to explain so I will just read it for yourselves.

I am not going to lie, halfway through this book, I seriously wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Well, we’re just screwed! What do we eat then?!” But I after continued to read, the second half became a little more positive. Pollan gives us some tips or “rules” for us to move away from this “unhealthy” eating. Besides reading food labels, he also suggests shopping at farmer’s markets or eating like our ancestors aka making our meals, enjoying our food, and eating slower. Though the front of the book says it all: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was that it could have actually been a bit shorter. Pollan repeats a lot of points over and over again in multiple chapters, to the point that it is actually annoying. There were a few times, I was like “yeah I know, you already said that in the last chapter. What does that have to do with this one?” Yet, I was willing to overlook it because the book brought to light things I didn’t know. When I got done, I had to sit there and think. It definitely made me reevaluate how I approach food.

The book did generate a great discussion during book club as half the group didn’t like the book. Some took issue with the fact that Pollan seemed a bit preachy and pompous. The suggestion of shopping at farmers’ markets as the only way to buy healthy food rubbed a few the wrong way since market food is typically more expensive and many can’t afford that option. They felt that he should have considered the socio-economic factor a bit more. However, as some others pointed out, he has other books where he explains that. I think there were some, who after discussing Pollens points a bit more, ended up liking the book more than they thought.

It was definitely an interesting read and I was glad I gave it a chance. Now I should go make up my grocery shopping list for the week. Until next time…


Have you read In Defense of Food? What did you think? What other books about food would you recommend? Let’s discuss!

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

This year has been full of great reads, thanks in part to the fact that I am part of so many book clubs. I now have to add Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie to this list, which I read this month for the Capital District Book Club. The genre that we selected this book for was “Books best read blind” meaning that you don’t know anything about the book. But even if you were to read the synopsis on the back cover, it can’t prepare you for the story that unfolds within its pages.

Home Fire is said to be a reimagining of Sophocles’ “Antigone” but I didn’t know that going in. The book opens with Isma, a British Muslim, who is detained in the British airport as she goes to board a flight to the United States. Isma is eventually let go and arrives in the US to pursue her dreams, but worry nags at her as she left her two siblings behind in England. She is especially concerned because her brother Parvaiz has recently been recruited to join ISIS, following in the footsteps of their late jihadi father. His twin sister Aneeka is left alone back in England.

The story moves along with each chapter providing each character’s perspective of the events as they unfold. We see how the unraveling of the once close-knit Pasha family unravel based on the decisions that each of them make, from Isma’s decisions after finding out what her brother had done and her decision to leave England, to Aneeka’s decisions to try to help her brother when he wants to come home. We also have the decisions of Aneeka’s boyfriend Eamonn, who is the son of the British Home Secretary Karamat Lone. Even Karamat’s actions against British Muslims has an impact to what happens to the Pasha family.

Shamsie does a great job interlacing the back story of each of these characters into the plot so the reader can understand why they make the decisions they do. It results in a build up that ends in a cascading wave of events that leaves you completely sucker punched. I reached the last page and was ready to have a bittersweet ending. Rather it left me gasping and crying. It hits you in all the feels and leave you emotionally drained. I was kind of in a book hangover after reading this book.

Let’s just say I couldn’t wait to discuss this book with the rest of the group. And not surprising, almost everyone in the group loved it. There was some criticism over the change of pace to the last part of the book and one who thought it was unrealistic, but otherwise, everyone else felt that it was a powerful read that was well done. Despite that, we spent nearly two hours dissecting it. Discussion ranged from whether Aneeka and Eamonn’s relationship was true or based on manipulation; whether Isma was the one to really cause the fallout because of her actions following her brother’s recruitment; how ISIS recruits its members; the grieving process; the Muslim culture and so much more.

A woman in the group said it best when she said she learned more about this topic in a fictional read than she has by reading news articles. I totally agree with this statement and it is something I have felt throughout this year. I think that it says something about the writer when they are able to put the reader in the character’s shoes as if they are experiencing it first hand. Shamsie definitely does that and I can’t wait to read more works by her.


Have you read Home Fire? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I am not one to read young adult fiction all that much but thankfully book club picked this book for July. To think that I may have not read this book otherwise is dumbfounding because I absolutely loved it. This book is definitely worth all the hype that it gets. And I am not the only one who felt that way. Everyone in book club felt the same way.

Starr is a 16-year old who lives between two worlds: Garden Heights, the poor neighborhood where she grows up, and Williamson, the prep school she attends. She is careful to keep the two separate. Then after leaving a party, Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a cop. While everyone tries to figure out what happened, Starr debates whether she should come forward with her account.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” 

I think what makes this book so powerful is the perspective that Thomas provides the reader. This issue is at the forefront in our society. There have been countless cases and headlines in the news about a cop shooting involving a young black man and it seems that everyone has something to say about it. Yet, what we see on television or what we hear is completely different than experiencing it. And that is the missing link this book provides. Thomas puts the reader right in the front seat – literally.

Not only does the reader sit beside Starr and experience her best friend’s death, but then they get to go through the aftermath of it as well. Starr has to hear the disparaging comments made about her friend while getting intimidated by the cops who want to protect their own. I cried out of anger, frustration and sadness because while the book is fiction, it sadly happens everyday.

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

By using the shooting as the main plot to the novel, Thomas is also forcing the reader to think and discuss the associated stereotypes and cultural divides that result, from the perception about people living in the ghetto to gang violence, drug dealers, and racism between whites/blacks and even other minority groups. I thought it was telling how Starr feels that she has to be two different people. One person while she is with her family and friends in Garden Heights and then a completely different person while she is a student at Williamson.

It is because of this that Starr struggles whether she should even testify in the case against the cop. Even though, she sees firsthand what happened, she debates whether it is even worth it. Is it worth the pity she will get from her friends, the anger from the cops, the pain when the case goes in the cops direction? You don’t blame her. What would I do if I was in that situation? And yet, it is completely infuriating hearing the comments her friends make about Khalil. I don’t even want to mention how much I wanted to slap Hailey for every passive racist comment that came out of her mouth. And don’t even get me started when she sympathizes with the cop. Seriously?! Right then, I was ready to defend Starr for whatever decision she made.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

I was totally beside Starr at the end when she finds her voice. And while her actions may have instigated what happens next, I seriously could care less. I was standing right there, rooting her on.

This book really opened my eyes to an issue that, unless you experience it firsthand, you really cannot understand. It is for that reason, everyone should have to read this book.


Have you read this book? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

Colleen Hoover’s ‘Verity’ will put you on edge

I was a bit skeptical about this when my book club chose it. We had read Colleen Hoover before and I just wasn’t a huge fan of it. In fact, it was the result of my very first review on this blog, go figure. However, I ordered it online because it wasn’t in the library yet and waited. When it came, I sat down on my couch and began to read. I finished it within four hours.

The book opens with the main character Lowen Ashleigh witnessing a horrific accident on a Manhatten crosswalk. While the accident has nothing to do with the rest of the story, Lowen encounters a stranger who offers his help. What she doesn’t know is that this stranger will be offering her a job of a lifetime.

When the accident occurs, Lowen is on her way to a meeting with her publisher and a potential client. Lowen learns that a famous thriller writer, Verity Crawford, was in a car accident and Verity’s husband, Jeremy wants to hire Lowen to help finish the last three books in his wife’s best-selling series.

Lowen, who is going through her own personal issue at the moment, reluctantly agrees to take the job and goes to the author’s house for research. Lowen must not only get in the mind of the characters of the books but also Verity’s mind. During a search of Verity’s office, Lowen uncovers a manuscript, which turn out to be an autobiography, but when Lowen begins to read it, she uncovers a whole lot more than she bargained for.

I haven’t read a book like this in a long time. I simply couldn’t put it down. Hoover makes the reader feel they are in the Crawford house alongside Lowen. I was experiencing the same emotions as she was throughout book. In fact, there is one scene where I had to stifle a yelp because it just freaked me the hell out. In the book, the character screams, but had I done that I probably would have scared the crap out of my fiancé who was sleeping in bed beside me. And this was only one scene. There were a few others that had my heart practically jumping out of my chest. Despite it reaching 1 in the morning, I kept reading.

I was almost disappointed at the end of the book when everything came to an end so quickly. I was like, wait, that’s it? After 300 pages, she wraps everything up in a page or two? Seriously? It was the problem I had with the other book I had read. But this time, I was jumping the gun in making my assessment, because there were a few more pages, which threw everything I thought I knew up in the air, to the point that I didn’t know what to believe. I closed the book trying to figure out trying to make sense of it. It’s kind of brilliant actually.

I can’t wait to discuss this with the rest of the group. By the reactions I am seeing on Goodreads, I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting discussion.


Have you read Verity? What did you think? What other books have you read that put you on edge? Let’s discuss!

Reread of Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code was as enjoyable as the first time

My book club decided to read The DaVinci Code for April so I thought it was a good time to revisit the Langdon series in its entirety, especially since I haven’t read them in a while and plan on reading the latest book, Origin.

Since the first two books the most known in the series, I decided to start with those two.

Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons opens with world-renowned Harvard symbiologist Robert Langdon getting called to a Swiss research facility where a cryptic symbol has been seared into one of the facility’s important physicist. From there, Langdon unravels a plot against the Catholic Church by the Illuminati. The rest of the book takes the reader on a journey as each clue unravels a little more of the plot and what the Illuminati is hoping to accomplish.

If there is one thing about Brown’s books, it is that they immerse the reader into Langdon’s world. I have never been to Rome but through Brown’s writing I could easily picture each place until I felt like I was there. Since Brown’s books are inspired by true events it was interesting to read the history of the Illuminati, its members and the relationship of the group with the Catholic Church over the years.

I have probably seen the movie, starring Tom Hanks, way more than I read this book. While I knew the general story, I had forgotten so many of the details, especially the ones that are different from the movie. It was like reading the book for the first time.

The reread was just as enjoyable as the first time. It is a good race-against-the-clock thriller that definitely keeps the pages turning. There is no dull moment in this book.

The DaVinci Code

The DaVinci Code is the second book of the Langdon series and this time it takes him to Paris where the curator of the Louvre has been murdered with a weird symbol on his chest. Langdon quickly learns that the curator is the grand master of the Priory of Scion, the guardians of the Holy Grail. Langdon joins up with the director’s granddaughter Sophie to unravel the clues that her grandfather has left behind and involve the old artistic master Leonardo DaVinci. Langdon and Sophie soon find themselves in the middle of their own grail quest that is full of twists and turns along the way.

I remember reading this book when it first came out when I was in high school. I was stunned by the ending of the book because it went against all my Catholic teachings about the life of Jesus. While fiction, the fact that some of the book was based on fact and Brown was able to make it so believable, definitely threw me. Could this really be true? I remember this book stirring some controversy when it came out and it makes you wonder why.

Like Angels and Demons, I have watched the movie more than I have read the book so it was interesting to find all the differences in the story line. Despite that, the book is a page turner and definitely had me from page one. It’s filled with cryptic puzzles, historical art, conspiracy theories and danger. What is not to love?

 

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

She Come UndoneIt’s taken awhile for me to write this review because I simply didn’t know what I thought about it. I was a mix of feelings. This was a reread for me because of book club and I was excited at first. I remember loving the book the first time I read it in high school. So imagine my surprise at not having those same feelings the second time around. Thankfully my book club discussion saved the day because it turned out that I wasn’t the only one who had reread this book and felt the same way.

It’s not as if the book is bad. There are some great scenes in this book and some strong themes that help tie everything together. Believe me, there is a lot going on in this book and you can probably spend all day talking about it.

Dolores Price is your typical 13-year-old wise-mouthed, angry teenager who is dealing with her parents recent divorce. If that isn’t enough, Dolores than experiences a traumatic event that threatens to undo her. In an effort to “forget” the trauma, Dolores holes up in her house, eating snacks and whatever food her mother passes off to her to make her feel better. When she graduates high school, she is over 200 pounds and no stronger. Seeing where her life is headed, she is determined to turn her life around.

Basically, this book is a coming of age story but its ultimately about life and the unexpected crap that life throws at you. It’s about perseverance when life gets so shitty that you just want to quit. In some ways, you can’t help but feel bad for Dolores because it seems that no matter what she does, she gets dealt a bad hand. Nothing ever seems to go right for her even when she tries her hardest to change. But it’s about perseverance and find the individual strength to find who you are and come into your own. For Dolores that takes a long time.

I loved the relationship between Dolores and her neighbor Roberta as well as her relationship with her guidance counselor Mr. Pucci. They are the two people who are the closest thing to being a parental guide to Dolores and help her in ways that she can’t expect.

Except for Mr. Pucci, Dolores’ relationship with men is doomed from the start. Dolores looked up to her father as any daughter would and then he divorces her mother, leaving her behind. Then there is the upstairs neighbor who becomes Dolores’ worst nightmare and escalates her undoing. Her relationship with her therapist pushes the boundaries between professional and inappropriate, followed by her marriage to Dante, which is doomed from the start.

I loved how Wally Lamb uses the symbol of the whale to tie the book together. When we first see the whales, they are dying along a beach and no one knows why. Dolores goes down to the beach to see the latest casualty and before you know it she is floating beside it, staring into its cloudy eye. It’s a bit weird at first but the books ends with Dolores on a whale watching boat, seeing a whale breach for the first time and she is overcome with excitement. The whale symbolizes Dolores’s mental health. At first, Dolores is dying. She is at her lowest — her depression has hit rock bottom, her weight is at its highest. She just wants to die. At the end, the whale symbolizes how Dolores has finally gotten her head above water and she is able to look forward to the future with optimism and confidence.

Overall, I enjoyed the reread of this book, even if it didn’t have the same effect on me as the first time. I think part of it has to do with my age. In high school, I could relate to Dolores. I had the same naivete about things. Now as an adult, I am more critical. Book club enjoyed the read, even the one man who is super critical of all the books we read. It is definitely worth it if you haven’t read it before.


Have you read this book? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

Book Club Discussion: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

This was a reread for me – both times were for book club. I actually enjoyed the read more this time than I did the first time and the same stories still had me in hysterics. I still stand by my original review, which you can read here, but I don’t agree with my criticism about her self promoting the book this time. In fact, I didn’t even notice it. The ultimate benefit to this reread was that my fiancé noticed, and now he wants to read it. YES!!

However, I was one of the few that thoroughly enjoyed it, this time around. The first time I read this it was for the SARAH Book Club and as I recall, the majority of the group enjoyed the book. There was little, if any, criticism about the book. The same can’t be said for this most recent discussion in the Capital District Book Club.

For those who liked it, they thought it was a good glimpse into how mental illness can affect someone. Some had read the book before or were followers of Jenny’s blog and definitely could relate. The discussion became a chance for people to open up about their experiences with mental illness and how Jenny helped them get through the bad times.

For those who were more critical, it wasn’t that they hated every part of the book but rather the random stories that Jenny wrote about. Many said that they liked the parts where Jenny described in detail how her anxiety and depression affected her. They thought her openness about the “dark” times and her stories about ensuring her daughter wasn’t directly impacted those times were genuine and wished there were more of that.

However, they were not a fan of the random stories that Jenny included. Many didn’t think they were funny at all and that Jenny was trying too hard, like she was screaming for attention (I disagree!). But this led to a great discussion on why Jenny did include those stories. Some thought that it was her way of showing how her mind worked while others saw it as a way to laugh about the craziness that is her life.

By the end of the talk, some of the nay-sayers began to swing more toward the middle in terms of liking the book. Some even said that they were going to change their reviews on Goodreads. After talking it over, they said they had a better understanding of Jenny and liked the book because of it.

And this is exactly why book club is AWESOME!! As one member pointed out, she always goes in thinking about a book one way and leaves book club feeling completely different.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss!