Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 2010 Bookers Minutes - Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

                               Walk in my shoes before casting the first stone.”

37 (another record) attended the annual holiday party at the home of Daryl Daniels, which was beautifully decked out in the spirit of the season.  Bookers might consider writing a cookbook as the food and beverages were again yummy!  Thanks to food czar, Bonnie Magee, for coordinating this for us. 

MN’s sister, Dianne, was our special guest and hopefully she enjoyed the camaraderie of our group.  She “reads by osmosis” listening to her sisters go on and on about books and we thank her for being such a trooper amongst the book lovers.  Last month, MN was not able to attend our regular meeting as she was tending to the business of rebuilding their beach house after fire destroyed it in September.  Patsy and Patty reviewed the book Broken For You, and in the process, we created a mosaic cross to be presented to her at this meeting.

To MN:  “In the review of Broken For You when a Booker made a comment about a character in the book, she placed a tile to created a mosaic as depicted in the story.  After losing your home to the fire, we want to gather around you to give support and hope.  This mosaic cross represents our friendship and love.  We appreciate all you have done for us in Bookers and pray for the rebuilding of your life and home.”

We decided an appropriate warm-up for our party/meeting would be to join voices and sing a few Christmas carols.  Melba and Leslie agreed to lead us in song and we appreciate their willingness to participate.  Unfortunately, we might have packed too much into the “program,” so we only had time to sing one song.  We apologize for having to cut this part short, but our reviewer had been waiting patiently in the wings for quite a while.  It was worth it as we were treated to “vintage Bernie’s special touches.”

Bernie donned several hats in her presentation of this book to our group.  Her first voice, seventeen year old, Lily told us she desperately needed someone to talk to – someone to listen to her.  “I’m a high school senior with awesome grades and my mother is the principal of the school, and I’m pregnant and it wasn’t an accident…I know that look, but let me explain…my closest friends and I made a pact to get pregnant…I don’t even have a boyfriend, but I “recruited” a neighborhood friend, but I don’t want him in our lives…we just want babies…something of our own.”  When the pact was revealed, the “town went crazy, and the media attention was coming from everywhere…life would never be the same.”

Susan, Lily’s mother and high school principal took the floor next.  “Where do I begin…Lily is the perfect daughter – she is a good student, popular and responsible.  I wanted her to have an easier path than I had.  I was horrified when I found out about her pregnancy, much less the pact between the best friends.  I struggled not only with the fact that Lily was going to be a mother, but with questions like, whose responsibility is it to prevent this type of thing…the parents, schools, church, the media?  Did I fail as a Mom?”
Bernie, the reviewer, was next.  “I thought it was an easy read, loved the title, but was disappointed in the lack of development of the mother/daughter relationships.  I was waiting for that big ta-da moment and it never came.  I understood the characters but didn’t connect with them emotionally.  If the ‘dying wool’ segments were a metaphor for the novel, I didn’t get it.  The ending was all tied up in a neat package, a happy-ever-after conclusion to an unlikely story.”
Bernie, the reader, asked, “ What do you think?”  The group responded with a burst of applause for a job well done…she is the consummate professional and a dear member of our group.
As always, our book selections bring to the forefront, the back-story of our own lives as was the case with this novel.  It hit pretty close to home for a couple of our members, bringing to light how an unplanned pregnancy changes your whole life and wonderment if subconsciously this provided an escape from their relationship with their own mothers.  We talked about the unlikelihood that these bright, college-bound teens would be stereotypical of  “pact behavior.”  They chose to end their childhoods by forcing themselves into adulthood, but within the confines of their parent’s safety net - an example of having your cake and eating it too.  They thought it would be “fun” to have something of their own…how about a cat?  We discussed the study of how the frontal lobe of the brain in teenagers is not fully developed until later in their teens, whereby an idea is formed, but it doesn’t connect with the consequence.  The book focused on relationships, moral issues, family values and the making of a good mother, described as one who is vigilant, trusting, teaches right from wrong and then takes off the training wheels, provides structure, a schedule, and above all, unconditional love.  The mothers in this book questioned their culpability in the situation, wondering if they had parented wrong.  There was some anger expressed about how Ms. Delinsky acted irresponsibly in writing such a book…remember it was ripped from the headlines, like a Law & Order story, and it did accomplish the very thing that identifies Bookers – did it promote discussion – the answer is, yes it did.  We strive to bring variety in our reading choices and understand each selection will have its critics and supporters, but it is important to judge the book on its merits and continue to respect the process by which we choose what to read as a group.
On The Business Side:

We are always looking for ways to improve Bookers and are considering a couple of options for next year.  Please think about these suggestions (and feel free to offer your own to the mix) and we’ll discuss them soon.  We could have a nighttime holiday party celebrating the season but not have a specific book to read and review…maybe just talk about your favorite Bookers’ book and why it is special to you.  Or, we could have a regular Bookers meeting with a book and review and add a separate holiday party.  I think we all enjoy getting together during the holidays, but the current format seems to be getting a little difficult to manage with the food and beverages, business, book review and discussion.  Let us know your thoughts…as usual; we are a work in progress.

Bonnie Magee reported hearing on several occasions that an individual would like to contribute and host a meeting, but either lived outside the Pinnacle, or felt their home was too small to accommodate our ever-growing group.  She suggested pairing up – one would provide the home and the other would take care of the coffee and beverages, sharing set up and clean up duties.  We all think this is an excellent idea and a solution to the problem.  Please keep this in mind when we are in need of a “host” home.

Jane Freer has located Clan of the Cave Bear at a used bookstore in Seven Points and has offered to take orders and purchase them.  They are $3.00 and please contact her if you are interested in this arrangement.

Generally we discourage moving our meeting dates, but it is possible that both MN and I will be gone during the second Tuesday in March.  Due to Spring Break and other travel plans, many of us will not be able to attend the meeting on the 8th so we voted to move it to the first Tuesday in March instead.  Please mark your calendars for March 1st instead of the 8th. is rocking right along.  We have six followers and our total revenues have reached $50.00 – our percentage is now about $2.00…nibble, nibble!  Thanks to everyone who has ordered books through the site.  Beth Hoffman, author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, found us and posted a wonderful note in response to our review of her book…the sky is the limit!

While I was in the company of my hero, Pat Conroy, as he addressed the Arts & Letters Series at the Dallas Museum of Art recently, MN was among 250 ladies all dressed in tiaras and donning pageant sashes paying homage to her favorite, Fannie Flagg.  It would be impossible to tell who had more fun!

Dale Molander, husband of Sandy, was at our table at the philanthropy luncheon and, of course, Bookers came up.  He has recommended, Outcasts United, a non-fiction account of a settlement center located near Atlanta for refuge families from war zones in Africa and the Middle East.  Stay tuned – it might be our selection for March.  We’ll keep you posted. 

I’m about 250 pages (1/2 way) into Cutting for Stone and love the story, but getting bogged down in the medical and cultural terminology.  Admittedly, I find myself skipping chunks of the novel, but since I’m not finished, the jury is still out on a recommendation.

Color code rating system:

                                                WHITE:         Light read
                                                PINK:              Moderately Challenging
                                                RED:                Challenging

January 11th, 2011:               The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
                                                Recommended by Pat Faherty, Patty Evans, & MN
                                                Home of Bonnie Magee
                                                Reviewer: Pat Faherty                                                 

February 8th:                             The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
                                                Recommended by MN, Cherry Fugitt, Jane Freer   
                                                Home of Jean Alexander
                                                Reviewer: TBA

MARCH 1ST                         NOTE CHANGE OF DATE
                                                Book TBA
                                                Home of Jane Freer

April 12th:                                 Room by Emma Donoghue
                                                Recommended by MN & JoDee
                                                Home: TBA
                                                Reviewers: MN & JoDee
May 10th:                                 4th annual Wine & Cheese Evening Meeting
                                                Still Alice by Lisa Genova
                                                Recommended by Kim Hand, MN, & JoDee
                                                Home: TBA
                                                Reviewer: TBA
                                                Bonnie Magee, food czar

Happy Reading,

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