A History Channel type tour of two centuries of American foods. Some fun tidbits and food for thought. Majority of our group enjoyed it.
We were mixed on whether or not we liked the story, about ½ did, ½ didn’t, but agreed it was well written and thought provoking. The word most of us used to describe it was “sad” but this family’s inability to communicate their feelings to each other brought up some interesting discussion about our own families secrets and openness. All agreed that the mother’s leaving at a critical point in the story to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor had been devastating to everyone in the family and had set the stage for what came later, as the author peeled away the layers of each family member’s reaction to her desertion and return. We did not come to a cohesive decision on whether the daughter committed suicide or thought that she could actually swim to the dock on her own and failed
Our Book Club thought this was a well written book, about a less known part of WWII, the occupation of France, and the Resistance Movement. It was thought provoking and lead to lengthy discussions about a number of issues: the character of Beck, the transformation of Vianne, the issue of Ari being returned to a Jewish family, family secrets, etc.
Our Book Club found lots to discuss with this book. Many of us, although our lives overlapped with the latter part of this period of migration by the southern blacks to the major cities in the north or west, really didn't have a firm understanding of how badly they were mistreated in the south as sharecroppers by the land owners. And still, they considered the south their home and often travelled south to visit relatives who stayed behind, or sent their children south to visit family. In the north, prejudice existed as well, but it was a different type of discrimination. Most of us ( a few grew up in the south, or lived for a time in the south and remembered segregated restaurants, bathrooms, schools) only had a vague knowledge of what "Jim Crow laws" meant and agreed we hadn't been educated adequately about this. We saw lots of parallels in northern prejudice to the great European migration at the beginning of the 20th century (no Irish need apply, and other ethnic populations as well) and even today with the fear of immigrants running rampant throughout this election cycle. Yes, there was indeed a lot to discuss about this book. That said, we also thought that at times it read like a dissertation and was somewhat repetitive. It was longer than it needed to be. Extremely well researched and engaging. Our group would recommend it to other Book Clubs.
Our club thought the book was beautifully written. We had an incredible discussion about the book at our meeting. We were intrigued by how the Count accepted all the changes in his life with grace (in a gentlemanly way), seldom questioning them and how he fashioned a full life within the four walls of the Metropol. We felt it was a very romantic view of that particular time in Russian history, which was such a brutal time. In some ways, his life and demeanor seemed too perfect. Never flustered, accepting, calm and collected. It was only when he needed to plan for Sophia's future that he created a way to escape his house confinement. And what a brilliant plan it was! There was a surprise reveal at the end, as well. Overall, a very satisfying read. We are going to read another A. Towle book at our next outing as we really enjoyed his writing.
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