Surviving with or inspite of friends

May 27, 2014 Meeting @ Katie’s House (front gate is some sort of IQ test?)
another rainy night = sky crying since we were missing Karen C, Shelley & Sue

Chit Chat:
house guests & their germs; partying @ Brennan’s and cops come (again…); young singles living the rich life @ Dewey – boats, drinks, par-tay – except for the part about sharing small room w/3 dudes

STOP EVERYTHING!  Schedule reminders NOW.  Do not.. repeat do NOT forget to remind Katie that when she hosts in 2015 she MUST remember to have 2-3 bottles of ‘back up wine’ in the house since it’s dumb/rude/short-sighted not to.   (And thanks, Marie & Tim S for providing emergency fluids)

Chit Chat (cont.): Katie’s front yard terracing gets thumbs up; Margaret’s graduation was really great; BEST PARENTING MOMENTS:  college graduation & marrying the right person; Other Book Chatter:  Tom Wolfe (many voices; scan & move on to enjoy next scene); James Michener (great research!; died in 1997, fyi); Big Ass Summer Reads (Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina; relish or avoid them?)

Which segues us to:
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.  Liz picked this because:long way down by nick hornby

  1. continuing the re-read theme from last month & conducting the Reread It & Love/Hate It Test*
  2. t’s a movie – June 5 release
  3. likes this author
  4. Bootleg has not yet read anything by him

*she did not love it again, but liked it well enough (phew)


  • Jess:  did anyone like her..w/sympathy? No.  She was a foil for Martin.  She was good for the book, but not as a friend.  Poor thing could only ever say exactly the wrong thing.
  • FOUR ‘I’ voices – ack!  And they were not written very distinctly from each other. At all.
  • so much punchy dialogue, but hard to follow who was talking
  • not ‘hilarious’ but some witty, dry & gallows humor; Martin’s acerbic responses = funny!
  • well done theme:  the yearning/consideration of suicide & then the moment passes and life keeps being lived
  • redemption theme:  sufficiently covered or more depth needed?  We were undecided
  • critical moments:  that decision to live or die rests in a gossamer-thin decision point & yet it’s so gigantically powerful
  • the end:  it’s not Disney which we liked; the plot(s) move ahead just enough but not to full-on ‘wonderful’
  • suicidal (could be sane & this is a ‘logical’ option) vs. mental illness (could commit suicide as a ‘symptom’ not a decision)
  • male vs female consideration of suicide – was it properly/correctly treated in this book?  probably
  • Jess’s purpose?  Her survival skills kept the group together so the on-going support remained on-going
  • Whole book was bizarre, absurd, but you go along on the ride to see how they survive with or because of each other
  • How did Hornby select the archetypes?  Martin & Maureen (stories write themselves); JJ (weakest story, lamest suicide rationale); Jess (most actually disturbed); others as ‘filler’ or based on types typically seeking treatment?
  • Movie: can enough of the important things be conveyed or will it just be titillating treatment of suicide?  Will it be Breakfast Club-y on a bad trip?
  • Funny haha & Funny odd scenes:  deciding to find Chaz; the angel

Character       Bootleg Cast   Actual Cast
Martin               Hugh Grant         Pierce Brosnan
Jess                  Emma Watson    Imojean Poots
JJ                     Jared Leto            Aaron Paul
Maureen          Penelope Wilton   Toni Collette
Cindy               Rachel Weisz        ?
Penny              Sienna Miller         Rosamunde Pike
Jess’s dad        Colin Firth
Jess’s mom      Kristin Scott Thomas

Dessert:  Pudding Bar!  Liz was a lemon, pistachio, chocolate, butterscotch wizard!

June meeting:  Karen C’s home.  Katie’s book:  American Gods by Neil Gaiman



One response to “Surviving with or inspite of friends

  1. Great as always, Katie. Can’t wait to see the June notes since I missed the meeting but found the book fascinating.

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