January, wherever did you go? To say it’s flown is an understatement for our household as we hurtle toward not one, but two graduations in May. Our daughter makes the jump from middle schooler to high school while our son shakes the dust of high school off his boots and makes for technical school and, eventually, he hopes, the U.S. Navy. People keep asking me if I’ve started crying yet and I can’t quite figure out why. Isn’t that the whole point…to raise them up so they can fly? But just in case I’ll start stocking up on Kleenex and the makings of a few of my favorite cocktails. A girl’s gotta have priorities, amiright?!
Family is what’s at the heart of January’s book selection, The Accidental Book Club. Reading the dust jacket, I thought I’d found just the book to launch The 70273 Project’s book club! What title could be more apropos to a disparate group of folks gathered together to share in a common interest? Perfect! And absolutely no pressure to choose something we’ll all love. None whatsoever.
Somehow I’d pictured Jean as a blue-haired, cookie baking, bridge playing, novel devouring widow who’d assembled a support system from a coterie of friends and acquaintances all of whom, interestingly enough, shared similar hobbies and had hair colored in various garish hues (think the mother from Bewitched), to keep herself occupied and her mind off the fact that she felt adrift and rudderless. Please don’t ask me why.
What I found, for the most part, was a cast of characters I basically hated on sight. Or word. Whatever. Can you see why I’m not a fan of movies based on books? Leave me my illusions (delusions) of how the characters look, thanks very much.
A little background first. My Dad’s parents lived only about 35 miles from us. Granmommie was a homemaker; and after serving in the armed forces, my Granddad worked as a brick mason. They were both quiet people who knew family history all the way back to when Noah set forth in the Ark (I’m kidding, but just barely). I spent weeks with them during summer vacation and never got bored. There was land, animals, and floor to ceiling bookshelves with glass-fronted doors custom built by my Granddad to hold the hundreds of books he and my grandmother read and re-read. I remember them reading Webster’s dictionary for fun. Then again, I read an entire set of encyclopedias for kicks. My Mom’s parents, who lived in Arizona, both served in the military. My Nana was a go-getter who was in her element when surrounded by a house full of people. She loved card games, Rummikub, and Nicholas Sparks (gag). My Papa ventured wherever she directed, made fairly regular trips to the hardware store (Jeff’s Pub), or hid out in his corner of the breakfast nook with a cigarette in one hand and the fingers of his other tracing the words down and across the pages of the local paper.
Back to the book.
Jean was unlike either of my grandmothers or any grandmother I’ve ever encountered. From the get-go I found her stiff, chilly and utterly unlikable. I have similar feelings about that vile shredded carrot and raisin salad a now-closed eating establishment from my childhood used to offer. This book was going to be as pleasurable as a trip to the dentist. I never understood what attracted Jean’s friends to her and vice versa. They all seemed like fairly well-rounded, lovely women. Go figure.
Then there was The Dysfunctional Duo, Laura and Curt. Some people were born to have kids. Others do well with their pet rock collection. What a wretched pair. And their daughter, Bailey. Bless her heart, how unutterably miserable she was…and with good cause. I guess if she’d been a block of granite, she might’ve been A-ok.
SPOILERS-SPOILERS-SPOILERS!! SKIP THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE BOOK YET.
My first “what is wrong with this woman” thought came when Jean spied her granddaughter huddled in the loft. Why didn’t she say something? Do something? How difficult would it have been to make even a small gesture of concern? But, no, there was nothing. I certainly didn’t feel like she did it to maintain Bailey’s privacy.
And what about Laura’s drinking? Granted, my kids aren’t grown, but I’d like to think if they had a habit that could kill them or someone else I’d have the chutzpah to say “um, ya gotta problem there, Bobby Ray”. Yes, her daughter was a grown woman, but still…
As miserable as Bailey was, I couldn’t help rooting for her to make life as unpleasant as humanly possible for every adult that came her way. Any attention was better than none. Three cheers, a high five, and a gold star for stashing the pot in Granny Jean’s vase!!
Well, enough of my kvetching. What’d y’all think? Did you love it, hate it, not finish it? Are you ready to string me up by my thumbs and use me for a piñata for picking such a stinker…or do I get a crown with a smashing princess cut diamond? For the record, I prefer emeralds.
Inquiring minds want to know!
One last note:
February’s book is The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein.
Please remember if you’re using Amazon Smile to designate The 70273 Project as your charity of choice and they will receive a portion of the proceeds.
Join in or skip this month and pick it back up in March.
Feel free to PM me with title suggestions. I don’t know if this heading up the book club is a 12 month gig or mine until I cry “uncle”, but I’ll try to incorporate someone’s book suggestions here and there throughout.
I’ll post an EVENT when we’ll do a pulse check on where everyone’s at with February’s book.
And last, even if you haven’t finished January’s book, you can still comment on the posts.