Alright ladies! BOOK CLUB TIME! This is a LINK UP so if you did your own post make sure to link it up. I have this dream of having a huge online book club for all like minded women who love to read and discuss literature. Imagine the possibilities! Oh, and if you are writing your own post please slap the above picture on it somewhere. Grazi!
January's book was The Husband's Secret by Liane Mortiary. Here are the questions that I posed to you last night:
+ The book is told from the viewpoint of three women. Which women did you like the most and why? Whom did you dislike the most and why?
+ What would you have done if you had found out the secret that Celia did? Did you agree with the way she handled it? What is the "right" thing to do in a situation like that?
+ What was the point of the side story with Tess? Do you excuse the way she acted during that week because of the uncertainty in her marriage?
+ Do you believe the bike accident was adequate "penance" for what John Paul had done?
+ Did you like the resolution of the book? Did you feel there was enough closure?
Let's start with Tess. Oh, I hated Tess. The least likeable character in the book by far for me. I did not understand at all why Mortiary even put that whole little side story in with Tess and Felicity and Will. It didn't have anything to do with the main plot of the story, and I felt like it dragged the book big time. I really disagreed with the way Tess handled everything and I feel like there were a lot of inconsistencies in her character. As soon as Will says that he's in love with Felicity she just high tails it out of there and says, "Fine! Sleep together!" which was so weird to me. Why wouldn't you fight for your marriage? She totally abandons him, and then blames him for everything that is wrong with their marriage.
Oh, yah and then she sleeps with her ex boyfriend (whom she doesn't even remember at first!) MORE THAN ONCE, enjoys it, is slightly infatuated by him, and then practically acts annoyed with her husband when he wants to reconcile. Oh, AND THEN she never tells her husband that she slept with someone else. I could not believe this and was really just turned off by Tess as a character. By the end I didn't care what happened to her, I didn't want her to enjoy happiness, I just wanted her out of the book. I feel bad for Will that he's married to a cheat and a liar, and I feel so bad for Connor that she basically used him for pleasure. Connor was actually one of my favorite characters in the book and he was just pretty much used by everyone around him. No wonder he needs therapy.
OH! And the real kicker is that at the end it says that Tess has a baby that was conceived the week she slept with both Connor and Will and she just always keeps it her little secret that the kid looks just like Connor. This was almost enough to make me not like the book at all- it seemed so flippant like this was some kind of happy resolution for everyone. And there's Connor getting screwed again- poor guy doesn't even know he has a kid out there in the world. I seriously felt so bad for him.
I also hated the way Tess viewed her marriage. Like it was an absolute chore and a drudgery to her. One of the nights she sleeps with Connor she goes out on a motorcycle ride with him and it says, "no matter how badly it hurt, she didn't want to be home in Melbourne, baking and watching television and doing invoices. She wanted to be right here, soaring along on this bike, her heart thumping, letting her know she was alive." I just hate the way this portrayed marriage in general, like the better option was always to be the back of a dirt bike with some total stranger.
Rachel: She was only slightly more likeable to me than Tess, but I hated how obsessed she was over her daughter's death that had happened 25 years ago. I get that it was an unsolved murder or what not, but 25 years?!? She didn't seem to mourn the passing of her husband at all, only focused on her daughter. Also, I hated the way she treated her son and daughter in law. Here she was a living child, and she is a total brat to him. I feel like she had totally wasted her entire life in mourning the loss of her daughter and wasn't able to see any of the goodness right here and now in her life.
Celia: Here, to me, was the strength of the novel. I loved almost everything about Celia. I loved her attention to detail, her quirkiness, that she sells freaking tupperware for a living and makes a killing off of it. I thought Mortiary really excelled with Celia in developing a complicated, lifelike, and extremely likeable character. I especially loved how she chatted nonstop when she was nervous and always bugged people with her insistence. Such a great, real character to me.
As far as the main predicament of the book- Celia finds out that her husband committed murder 25 years ago- I LOVED it. I loved the way she reacted to it, the way she tried to come to terms with it, how she withdrew from her husband but at the same time couldn't leave him. I have no idea how I would react in a situation like this, but I love that the book made me consider several possibilities. It wasn't so far fetched that I felt like it could never really happen. Honestly, if Greg told me 25 years from now that he had killed a girl at age 17- that he never meant to kill her, that it happened before he could realize- I can understand doing what Celia did. What good would it do now to turn him in and where he had a family and kids who need him now... But then at the same time it does feel so unjust to leave that poor woman, Rachel, not knowing for all those years, haunted by the unknown. Also is unfair to Connor who deals with feelings of guilt all those years after even though he never did a thing to the girl. (Again, Connor getting screwed over.) Such a good conflict- I love it!
Also, this is kind of random but WHAT was the point of all the talk of the Berlin wall? I feel like it was supposed to be some recurring symbol or whatever in the book, but whatever it was Mortiary was trying to say did not come across very well. I got so tired of the Berlin wall talk and other the "small talk" in the book. A lot of the times I felt like the pacing of the book was slow because of long, tiresome details and conversations between characters that did not play into the plot.
Alright, there's more I could say, but I am going to be done for now. I'm excited to see the points you bring up and I am hoping for an energetic, lively discussion in the comments. If you did your own post on the book make sure to link up!!!
The book for February is I am Malala by Mala Yousafzai. We will be discussing it on February 27. Be there!