Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I decided to read three "club" books, and this one was better than The Friday Night Knitting Club but not as good as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It would have been helpful if I had just read all six Jane Austen novels, as I'm sure that the characters in this novel correspond to or behave like some of hers. Although I've probably read half of them, I certainly don't remember them in enough detail to understand any allusions that may have been present. (I have, however, seen three movie versions of Pride and Prejudice, so at least I wasn't too lost on that one.) The characters are mostly female (no surprise there), but the book club does have one male member, Grigg, who dives right in with a brand new set of Austen's complete works but is primarily a science fiction aficionado. The other members are Jocelyn, the club originator, whom Grigg has a crush on; Bernadette, the oldest, who is between husbands; Sylvia, whose husband has left her for a younger woman; Sylvia's daughter Allegra, a lesbian whose relationship has recently ended; and Prudie, the youngest, who is happily married but still coping with the residual pain of an unhappy childhood. The funniest scene is at a benefit dinner where Bernadette tells an embellished story of her life to shut up a pompous author seated at their table. In typical Jane Austen fashion, everyone's love life is wrapped up to everyone's, including the reader's, satisfaction at the end.

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