Memoir as Medicine? April 2011 Minutes

April 26th at Shelley’s house – in the basement!!! 
Was she trying to tell us something based on last month’s book?

The Tennis Partner by Abe Verghese
Wendy picked this book because:
1. Verghese’s book Cutting for Stone was too hard to get
2. This one caught her eye (& had many library copies)
Overall, Wendy liked it because Verghese is such a good observer.

FOR THE BOOTLEG REVIEW, GENERAL CHATTER, & CASTING

GENERAL CHATTER:  BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS!
Robert – Max Calories – Kaplan officially is commissioned & will take his tanned, handsome self to Pensacola for pilot training!  A lifelong dream come true ~
Sue is going to be a GRANDMA!  Stacy is due in December & is claiming ‘GIRL’.
Easy segue:  Karen C. may retire as douhla – schedule clashes with that of kids she already brought into the world.
More Kaplan Joy:  Daniel graduates in May & his 6 year MRI = ALL CLEAR
Critical Discovery of the Month – Karen S’s curly hair is too cute!
Boatrights&Brennans – jobs/apartments/friends – it’s all pretty darn good!
Official Low Point – Liz’s jewelery box raid.  Upgrade to constant vigilance!
Eggs-cellent DC Memory: Katie & girls (w/others) hosted science activity at White House Easter Egg Roll
Not a DC/PC Moment:  Alec S registers as communist on his learner’s permit..stickin’ it to the man, man!
Bootleg Bookclub mentioned indirectly in Skating Magazine, again due to Shelley’s great fame in the skating & film worlds!

K’town Sector Planthe gloves are comin’ off!  Be informed.  Think twice. Density v. Quality of Life v. Get Funded or Get Forgotten v. Cooperative Compromise v. Aesthetics v. Profit v. Newcomers v. Experience v. The Politics of Always Losing in Politics v. We Love COSTCO & Chipotle (don’t we?)

NEW CONCEPT:  New Yorker Magazine Club – for those with no time to read a full book.  (Editorial Comment:  Get a life, you crazy New York-o-philes!)

THE TENNIS PARNTER:  some of us had unmarked books & didn’t realize it was a memoir; we all mostly agreed that if Verghese were the junkie in the prologue that’d be a better ‘plot twist’; Verghese struck many of us as self-absorbed, remote, immature, unempathetic if empathy cost him too much personally, passive, lonely; we disliked that his personal tragedies always seemed so much larger to him than any other event he knew of (esp. David’s experiences); on the other hand, his life was filled with events/settings that inculcated him with feeling foreign & removed; David felt different/removed when Verghese & he met – the initial ‘attraction’, perhaps?;  the book shared interesting balance shifts between mentor/student in hospital v. on tennis court; tennis was Verghese’s escape & at the stage of this book the only barometer of true success that he both really cared about & felt he’d not achieved; final scene with Pancho Segura proved he IS good; we appreciated the clean, crisp delivery of both the tennis play-by-play and medical diagnoses but the amount of detail became a bit too much for most of us by midway through the book; tennis & medicine:  observe, see patterns, be one step ahead of the next move/phase; well done theme:  doctor as enabler v. doctor as godlike character; IF this had been fiction, then great plot twists could’ve been used a bit better; since it was nonfiction, the twists as-is were compelling; Verghese wrote himself as a senstive, age-appropriate, in-touch-with-kids-of-divorce person – this rang false to some of us; Verghese writes characters very well, but his wife & to some extent his boys were written as ‘blanks’; did he do this on purpose?  b/c he hates her? due to libel/slander issues? b/c he’s blinded to them?;  theme:  men’s friendship explored indepth…most of us saw this treatment as insightful (esp. Verghese’s intuition of others’ thoughts & motives & ‘patterns’), others saw Verghese’s portrayal more as a ‘love story’ than friendship & thus a bit odd

CASTING:  DAVID/Jesse Spencer; VERGHESE/Shalini; EMILY/Amanda Sefreid; GLORIA/Taylor Cole; MOM-WIFE/????; MICKIE/Kathy Bates or Angela Torres
Special Advice (shared while Googling for actors):  Be careful what you Google! (NOT ‘thongs’…’flip flops’, please…)

May 2011 Meeting is at Kitty’s house, date TBD
  Shelley’s Pick – Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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4 responses to “Memoir as Medicine? April 2011 Minutes

  1. Thanks, Ladies! It’s fun to do.

  2. I love your minutes, Katie! Thank you as always.

  3. great notes…love the colors. Thanks for keeping us up to date on our ramblings.

  4. Great minutes…as usual!!!

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