Bootleg Book Club Minutes – Karen S’s House
No storm! (not counting the flood of dogs & lightning-fast tongue one has)
Karen’s veggie lasagna! a fireplace! dining at the table – so civilized!
ATTENDANCE: all but Kitty & Karen C. + Kelsey (Daniel Schuler’s +++1)
PRE-CHATTER: Blue Angels bookmarks from Marie; flu war stories (30% of us had flu shots; Tamiflu is pricey, fyi); speed dating v. speed networking – any dif?; shutters & other undone jobs during 2-week hiatuses (sigh); neighborhood break-ins while somebody is home (we are just not that ghetto so what’s up?) GIFTS: Liz’s ring picked by Tim+Meg (salesclerk saw ‘couple’ – hmm…); Shelley got auto/remote car start (Star Wars music, pls); Katie’s Kindle cued ye olde book v. new device debate (we’re split but if portability is needed, Kindle wins)…speaking of books, who picked what in 2012? [See 12/12 post]
SEGUE: Shelley never got to pick in 2012…where’d her chance go….?
BOOK: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple is Shelley’s 2013 pick.
She picked it because we were supposed to read another book earlier and Shelley got it last-minute from a client. That same client told her about this book & that was all she wrote. UNRULINESS: This selection broke rules (new, had to buy, no library access) so there was a lengthy plot re-hash by Liz, Viv and others.
DISCUSSION: Epistle style (faxes, emails, journals) was fun and mostly well done; a few passages (esp. Elgin’s assistant) were very prose-y & long…most busy folk do not email that way – even if they’re in ‘love’; great humor at points, light tone, poignant scenes & moments; similar to This is Where I Leave You (wacky family, black humor, simple scenes stretched into surrealistic, cynical suburbia); chik-lit with a plot and some respectably heft themes; a bit of jumping the shark near the end – esp. with Bernadette a) not getting tossed in the brig for jumping ship & b) her salvation just waiting for her in Antactica (architectural puzzle only she can solve); good action-humor scenes: mud slide, intervention @ Bernadette’s, TEDTalk, Bea searching for mom on island outpost; Elgin’s affair was annoying/distasteful & would’ve been funnier if it lived only in his assistant’s emails; Bernadette didn’t know about baby by book’s end…perhaps this keeps it too Disney at the end; Bea = very likable & relationship with Bernadette was mostly quite nice; we loved Manguela’s brief responses to Bernadette’s long, blowsy, free-ranging emails; Neti pots…ick!; SO much INFO: architecture, Seattle, Antarctica; some themes & concepts seemed abandoned or unbalanced: Cadillac v. 2nd tier schools (would Bea’s rise or remain?), Canadians (are the slurs/jokes true-funny?), Bea’s religious experience at Choate (and then what?); Bar Bills & Pink Penguins – the truth will out!
FAVORITE NEW EXPRESSION: poop in the stew
Fun Fact – Semple was a tv comedy writer & got disillusioned with backstabbing so she moved to Seattle and started writing fiction – write what you know…
Elgin – Viggo Mortensen; Bernadette – Julianne Moore; Bea – McKenzie Foy (Renesmee); Audrey – Tina Fey; Elgin’s Ass’t – Sandra Oh; Kennedy – Abigail Breslin; Ollie (marketer) – Stanley Tucci; Manguela – Manti Te-oh’s girlfriend; FBI Agent – Bill Murray; Psychiatrist – Babe Neuwerth
FEBRUARY BOOK (Karen S’s): Bat Mitzvah Girl by Beverly East
Hege’s House – February 26th (author is coming!)