I may not be Oprah , but I am part of a pretty fantastic book club. We get together roughly every six weeks, and take turns hosting, which also involves choosing the title and providing the refreshments. This time around, I’m in charge, and I’m sharing my selection with you. Though I can’t offer you any treats (my witty repartee is treat enough, non?), I hope that I can introduce you to a terrific piece of literature. (I’ve already read it – thanks, Mom, for picking it out for me last Christmas!)
I am counting on the actual members of my book club (and you know who you are!) to offer a couple of comments along the way. Oh, but unlike at our real meetings, you are expected to remain on topic! Please don’t post any spoilers though!
My choice? “Good To A Fault” by Marina Endicott. Here’s how the publisher describes the book: “Absorbed in her own failings, Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara tries to do the right thing, moving the three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house. As Lorraine walks the borders of death, Clara expands in to life, finding purpose, energy and unexpected love amidst the hard, unaccustomed work of sharing her days. But the burden is not only Clara’s: the children must cope with the guilt of divided loyalties, and Lorraine must live with her growing, unpayable debt to Clara — and the feeling that Clara has taken her place.”
It’s Canadiana, it’s award-winning, it’s powerful, and it’s waiting at your local bookstore or library for you to pick it up. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
although i am not part of the book club i might just buy the book and let you know what i think!!
I would be thrilled if you did! I'd love to hear from anyone who has read the book, or who wants to pick up a copy and join the discussion.
Hey Kate! Great blog….will you be posting your book club list? I'm always looking for another great read
Yes, I'm planning on doing a post in a couple of weeks outlining the titles we've covered so far (and how I would rank them!) Thanks for checking out the blog!
A few quick comments from one of Kate's fellow book club members.
So for starters I prefer the cover of the book posted to your blog over the one on the book I read. It is much more suitable to the storyline.
This book is has a quiet low-pitched tone so if you tend to reach for books with thrills and unexpected surprises than this may not be the choice for you. However the story is very engaging and the characters are well developed.
The story is told from a few different perspectives which adds to it's depth and richness. I personally enjoyed the accounts as seen through the eyes of the 10 year old Darlene, aka Dolly.
The story examines the theme of "doing good onto others" and tackles the age old role of "good samaritan". The story progress smoothly and the ending leaves the reader satisfied.
Endicott does a good job of making the reader question Clara's motives. Did she do what she did out of selvishness or was she truely self-sacrificing? Great pick Kate and suprisingly different from your last selection!
I agree with Crystal, your book cover is way better. I am not quite done the book yet so I will have to nget back to you on my final thoughts. But so far so good.
I'm justing getting into the book and had to laugh last night at Grandma – giving the baby allergy medicine to get him to sleep – when I give my kids allergy medicine they hang off the light fixtures!
It's funny, I searched for an image of the cover to use and decided I liked that one (the new edition) better too!
Crystal makes a great point about the different perspectives really adding to the story. I found when I was reading Clara's point of view, I would be sympathizing with her, and hoping she ended up with the kids, yet Lorraine's point of view was always painful, as I thought about what it would be like to be stuck in that position with my children living and bonding with a stranger who was essentially replacing me.
Though the book isn't technically a difficult read, I often had to stop to digest and process what I had read and how I felt about it.
I have just started this book and so far I am enjoying it. I anticipate it to be one of those books that once you are into it, you can't put it down.
Clara is indeed an interesting individual. While she was watching the older children play and hugging the baby she just had a thought "being with the children isn't that hard". Makes me wonder that she regrets her choice to not have children. Based on the descriptions of her life thus far, she seems to be a cautious individual who seeks control. Having children does NOT allow for a controlled/calm life. She hadn't considered the benefits of losing that control though: the warmth of a child's embrace!
I love Darlene. She is a bright young lady, she seems to have picked up some great habits from her father. I enjoyed her thought process as she snooped around the home, discovering Clara's secrets. She planned carefully when she could investigate which room based on what Clara's activities would be.I also see that, apart from the dishonest behaviour she has exhibited, she has seen some powerful examples of love in her life. She scavenges for the apple early on in the novel, then shares it with her brother (after carefully cleaning it with her spit). She does have a strong protective sense. Though the father seems like a dead beat to me at this point, I am eager to see if he has exhibited some of these behaviours in the past for her to mimick. I can't help but feel that the mother Lorraine is going to turn out to be one of those women who has always been controlled by her husband, and that she has little control over the direction of her life. Such a stark contrast to Clara. Lorraine, however, seems much more content.
I was looking for some good book club discussion questions, and I came across an article about the two different covers that were used for the two editions of the book:
I have also added an image of the first edition to this post, for those who are interested.
I finished the book last night and must say I was very disappointed with the ending. Don't worry, I won't give it away.
I did really enjoy the book however. It was a slow start but once I got into it, I really enjoyed reading Endicott. It may have also helped that I sent my kids to daycare one day over the March Break & sat in bed in my jammies reading all day – haven't done that in at least 3 years!
Clara was an interestng character, but needed to grow some more backbone in my opinion. My favourite character was the baby – Pierce – probably because he reminds me of my sweet cuddly little one.
I'm going to save the rest of my comments for the book club as I don't want to spoil the ending for those who have not read it yet.
p.s. Kate are you serving a chocolate layer cake or trying one of Mrs. Zenko's recipes?
The book was very intriguing…and addressed the age old question: is there truly an unselfish, altruistic act or are all actions somewhat self serving?
I also thought that it was interesting that Clara's character did not ponder (or bemoan) the fact that she did not have children of her own. I found that to be a major underlying issue that the author overlooked in creating Clara's character. As a quasi-professional, she would be surrounded by people close to her age having children. Interesting that she did not consider having children & that her relationship with the priest was never in the context of a family. If she thought that her biological clock had quit ticking, the author did not describe how her character had worked through that process.
I work with many 35+ women who are in the process of completing graduate degrees and they are starting to come to terms with the fact that their "family ships" have sailed. It is very sad to watch. (Their facebook postings are heart wrenching!) Recently two of these girls asked me my age. When they realized that I am a little younger than they are, with a husband and kids…they were astounded. Somewhere along the road, they had been taught that you can't do graduate school and have kids. One woman, who recently broke up with her latest boyfriend, calls herself a "cat lady" and is starting to look for divorced fathers to date. Hard stuff!
Kate hosted a wonderful book club evening. Yummy cookies and things, and healthy veggie/fruit trays so we could pretend that balances out the treats. The kids tried pretty hard to stay up with us, but Daddy wisked them off -> nicely done, by the way. Wonder if you had to bribe him, Kate, or is he just a natural?
Kate tried to keep us on topic of the book, but with 8 women in a room it's hard to not revert to gossip and things! When we did get down to it, it's so fun to see that we can all have such a different impression of characters, and such different feelings about the same book!
And, yes, I know I still have to take a minute and comment on my thoughts from the book for the blog.
Well i very muck enjoyed our book club the other night. I was disappointed we didn't talk about the crazy Grandmother. I would hace loved to have herd what everyone had to say about her. Thank-you Kate for a great evening and I will see you all at my place soon. Melissa