It really IS a life and death situation.

Guest blogger:  Mary!
Notes from Bootleg Book club gathering at Karen Schuler’s home, January 19, 2016 (a mere three days before the Snowzilla Event of 2016):
missed Katie’s note taking, had to do with Mary’s mixed up pages

Attending:           Vivianne, Karen S, Karen C, Liz, Shelley, Angelika, Katie, Mary, Marie, Sue

Missing:               Kitty (hope you are feeling better now)

Book: The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan

Appetizers and Chatter:

  • Marie: Robert’s deploying to the Pacific: we are sending him wishes for safe travels
  • Angelika: sharing the tales of the dog watching business: the benefits of daycare dogs vs overnighters, saying yes or no to requests for services and the ramifications, dog clashes
  • Viviane: Daniela is in Hong Kong for the semester. Regimented schedule, 3 week seminar, organizational science and business focus
  • Shelley: brought delicious melted cheese, herb and bread appetizer (YUM), Kirstie’s company opening new office in Toronto (will she go work in the country to our north, eh?)
  • Karen S: All the menfolk were sent to Missoula for skiing with Christopher: holiday for the girls of the house! Making lemonade of lemons: United flights rebooked, had to go through Minneapolis: 6 hour layover enough time for trip to Mall of America! Schuler Men go off book in search of adventure
  • Liz: need more regulation for airlines: they can cancel you and have no responsibilities…
  • Karen C: in anticipating snow storm this weekend (will it be anything or nothing???), Karen books self to leave on Thursday instead of Friday (smart girl) but must travel alone (no hubby for this trip because the idea of leaving grandma with two kids and possibly big snow coming did not seem smart…now into day five of no school for montgomery county…that was the right call)
  • WEATHER: winter storm “Jonas” will it or won’t it…no need to say anymore.


Viviane’s pick: Why? Recommended by Hege, likes the author Ian McEwan. Initial reaction: liked Atonement better, but once started, wanted to see how it ended. Story interesting.

Most folks had read the whole book.

Liz who didn’t like Atonement, was engaged from page one (points for Viviane!!): amazed that male authors seem to be able to convey what’s in women’s heads so well.

First Topic: the KISS: Mothering concern or romantic? Boundaries crossed? Not know where the line is? Accidental lip to lip? Guilt over kiss drives other decisions? Charged moment?  Oedipal issue?

Conflicts for the judge (Fiona Maye…I realized I forgot her name completely: had to look it up):

  • was Adam Henry the child she never had?
  • Should she not have gone to the hospital to meet the boy Adam? Was she crossing the boundary there? Or was it right that she see for herself his state of mind, as he was so close to being 18 and an adult?
  • Once she made her ruling, which essentially saved Adam’s life, did she have any responsibility to him beyond the ruling? Should she have responded to his attempts to reach her?
  • BIG DISAGREEMENT HERE: (mostly Marie and Mary) over whether the judge should have done more once started to get the letters from Adam: What is role of the judge beyond her ruling.?
    • From a law perspective, she had done her job with her ruling. She did talk to the SW about boy once. Her role in his life stopped there.
    • From a moral perspective, did she owe him more because her ruling had saved his life? The boy’s life unraveled, its religious foundation shaken, and he reached out to the judge. Should she have shared the letters with the boy’s social worker?
    • Was there guilt/embarrassment over the kiss that kept her from doing something more?
  • Separate story: Marital strife: tool to show how Fiona’s work was impacting her life, her marriage. PTSD response to the Siamese twin ruling:
  • Most agree: male author’s perspective: two weeks without sex is long time…
  • Some disagreement: longer book (other characters could be more developed) vs just right length
  • Katie: comments and questions shared after most of group had left:
    • Enjoyed clarity of writing: clinical, under a microscope looking at Fiona’s life
    • Strong intellect: undermined by disconnect with her heart.

Did not cast book. Shared books that we have read and enjoyed:

Liz: Elizabeth the First Wife by Lian Dolan: quality chick lit/not historical fiction

Shelley: Matilda: read first, then saw at the Ken Cen

Viviane: Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

Mary: A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin

Marie: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Katie: Gutenberg:  How One Man Remade the World with Words by John Man

Karen C: Gray Mountain by John Grisham, Persuader by Lee Child, Deep Freeze by ??


Next book club: Marie’s house. Stay tuned for time/place/book to be picked by Karen Schuler



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