I love my neighbhood book club. Tonight the ladies met to discuss a new NYT bestseller, and I have to admit, I gave the book a higher rating than anyone in the room . . . and afterward, I felt like one of those sychophants who praised the naked king in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” After listening to everyone go around the circle and talk about how they found no redeeming value, no sympathetic characters, and a plot that turned on an unbelievable coincidence, I wanted to say, “Yeah, but it’s so-and-so, and he once won a Pulitzer Prize.”
But you know what? They were right. And I love these women, because they constantly remind me that I’m not writing for prizes or the literati; I’m writing for real, intelligent women who love to read and know what makes a story work. Yes, some of the writing was beautiful, but the author’s existential bent shone through, and we were left with a feeling of hopelessness.
Not exactly why we’d wanted to read the book. (And no, I’m not going to mention the title in public.)
In any case, we’re looking forward to next month. We’ll be reading another favorite author, Anita Shreve. We almost chose to read “Marley and Me,” but someone realized the dog dies at the end, and that settled that . . .