Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

Schumacher, Julie. The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012. Print.

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My Thoughts
"Unbearable Book Club
Mother-Daughter Literary Punishment Group
The Mother-Daughter Book Club & Conspiracy League
Literary Enslavement Society of West No Hope
Involuntary Book Bondage Guild
Intolerable Book Bondage Group for Wayward Girls
Unbearable Book Club of West New Hope, DE
Extremely Unbearable Book Club for Irresponsible Girls
Unbearable Literary Society for Impossible Girls
Society of Feminine & Literary Despair
Literary Punishment Guild
Unbearable Literary Society
Book Bondage Unbearable Literary Enslavement Club
Excruciating Reader's Group for Abominable Girls
Literary Trespassers Association for Delinquent Girls
Extremely Unbearable Book Club Meeting #5"
These are the names given to the book club as the story progresses. I found it humorous to see the changing title and how the title related to the action of the story. The book club starts because four girls (Cee Cee Christiansen, Adrienne Haus, Jill D'Amato and Wallis Gray) have an AP summer reading assignment. Some of the moms thought it would be fun to create a mother-daughter book club (this sounds like something I would do). The girls wouldn't normally be friends. Their social circles are not the same. Adrienne's mom explains, "It's good to interact with people you wouldn't ordinarily talk to, and read books you wouldn't ordinarily read. Be open-minded. Be willing to experiment" (Schumacher 28). As the story unfolds, I'm not convinced that they all became friends through the book club, even though they shared experiences. 

This is an enjoyable "fluff" book -- something I needed to read after my last book. I appreciated all of the literary allusions. The reading list is AP caliber ("Yellow Wallpaper," Frankenstein, Left Hand of Darkness, The House on Mango Street and The Awakening. I'm not familiar with the Left Hand of Darkness book, but I will order it for the library). There is even mention of my favorite childhood series, The Boxcar Children.

I liked a character's comment that "Books are a distraction but also a comfort" (Schumacher 217).
I liked the characters and found mystery in Wallis (wonder if and hope Schumacher will write another book from her perspective). I enjoyed the feeling of loving books shown in this novel. "I still loved opening a book and feeling like I was physically entering the page, the ordinary world fizzing and blurring around the edges until it disappeared" (Schumacher 5). Yep, I like that feeling, too.
At the first book club meeting, Adrienne is asked about what she thinks of the book. She explains:

"I found it almost impossible, after I'd just finished reading a book, to formulate an opinion about it. To me, a recently read novel was like a miniature planet: only a few hours earlier I had been breathing its air and living contentedly among its people--and now I was expected to pronounce a judgement about its worth? What was there to say? I enjoyed that planet. I believe that planet and its inhabitants are very worthwhile" (Schumacher 37).

I can relate to that! When I am engrossed in a book, I am there "visiting," and it's hard sometimes, even writing this blog, to pronounce what I thought. I think this is why I take notes and mark pages. When I'm in the book, I'm in, but once I'm finished, I often forget the chuckles and "aha" thoughts and connections I made while reading.
Wallis has a goal of reading a book a week. Last year, I read 39 books, which is the most I've read since writing this blog. I thought I'd try in 2014 to read a book a week. So far, I'm behind and the month of January isn't even finished. Adrienne's mother encourages her to "try keeping a list of all the books you read" (Shumacher 95). In 2000, I was getting my English Master's degree and started making a list of the books I'd read. It is interesting to see how my interests focused based on my books read. When working on my library science degree, I had to start this blog. I still keep my list, but now I have this record of my thoughts.
I thought it was humorous when Cee Cee explains "most of the books we read for school ended with someone dying, because teachers liked it when their students got depressed" (Shumacher 204). HA! I don't think we really do, it was funny to see that perspective.
Each chapter defines a different literary term (this is part of the summer reading assignment--to define & identify literary terms and a clever way for Adrienne to complete the task.). I found the last chapter's term and definition to be accurate. "Resolution: The part of the book you spend a lot of pages waiting for; the part where you get your questions answered. (But I'm not sure if that's true in my essay.)" (Shumacher 215). As a reader, I don't have to have everything answered, but I hate spending "a lot of pages waiting for" something that doesn't happen. It is frustrating. I wasn't frustrated at the end of this book, even though there are a few unanswered questions.  

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