Member Profile

Name : Maureen M.
Gender : Female
Occupation : Special Education Teacher

My Reviews

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The writing style of this book, in the form of personal letters, taught me about the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII, a period in history of which I knew very little. However, because it was written solely in the form of letters (as primary sources), I found it somewhat difficult to keep the characters and characteristics straight. I devised a list of characters, traits, their favorite authors/books, and unique events in their lives. Each member's favorite author and/or literary quote uniquely captured their experience during the hardship of the war and 5 years of German occupation. The joy of companionship, united by a newly found love of literature, bonded the members of the society to eachother and ensured their survival.

I found the book to be delightful! It praises the joy of reading and the impact that a book can have on a person's life. There are so many beautiful lines, which I have personally written as my own memorable quotes, such as "reading good books ruins you from enjoying the bad books" (p. 53). I wholeheartedly agree. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is not to be missed.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Romantic, Insightful
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In Pride and Prejudice the author explores people's preconceived notions and prejudices as they relate to one another. As the story enfolds, both Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy realize that their first impressions were flawed-there is more to each person than their pride or prejudices allowed them to believe.

The book is a window into the world of women and life in late 18th and early 19th centuries England. Our bookclub discussions included not only the growth of the characters or the premise of the book, but the life of Jane Austen, as both a social commentator and a woman ahead of her time. We compared life for women in both the 18th and 21st centuries. This book is a wonderful choice for an enjoyable read, stimulating conversation, and comradery among your members.
I heartily recommend it for your bookclub.

Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Adventurous
The Gentlemen Poet A Novel of Love, Danger and Shakespeare's the Tempest

A sweet, enjoyable story of a young woman beginning a life in a new land. Set in Bermuda in the early 1600s, the author weaves a tale based upon the shipwreck of the Venture and the first settlement in Bermuda. Following the shipwreck, as settlers struggle to survive, characters have the opportunity to grow, rediscover and reinvent themselves. If you like historical and romance novels, you will enjoy this book.

Our bookclub was fortunate enough to discuss our questions with Ms. Johnson via speaker phone. Ms. Johnson shared her writing process from conception of her ideas to published piece. We really enjoyed our discussion. Kathryn was a delight and made our meeting unforgettable.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Both fascinating and tragic, this non-fiction narrative informs the reader of the advances in medical science due to the cervical cancer cells In Ms. Henrietta Lacks. Theses virulent cells, which claimed her life at such a young age, still live on today in laboratories around the world. Experimentation on these cells, contributed to the development of vaccines such as the HPV and polio vaccines. However, these cells were removed without the patients knowledge while she received treatment within the "Colored" section of the free clinic at Johns Hopkins. The impact of Ms. Lacks cervical cancer devasted her family, while becoming a boon to medical science. Herein lies the dicatamy of the book, which opens the eyes of the reader and changes him or her forever.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Interesting
A modern immigration story

Jean Kwok captured her life experiences through this fictional tale of hardship, survival and triumph. Kimberly and her mother flee China, liiving in impoverished conditions and working in Manhattan's Chinatown in a clothing factory owned by her maternal aunt and uncle. Kimberly enters school with no English and no knowledge of American Culture. The author opened our eyes to the harsh life in an American clothing factory. Sad to say, we were unaware that such hardships and violations of labor laws exist in America today. Kimberly struggles to hide and survive her secret life of dire poverty in Brooklyn, NY. You will find yourself cheering for Kimberly as she works to help her mother overcome.

The members of our club are predominately teachers who work in a public school in Brooklyn. Ms. Kwok helped to open our eyes to the unknown home lives of newly arrived immigrant children, as well as their struggles to assimilate and adapt to their new homeland. I would consider this book to be a modern day version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, with Kiimberly as Francie Nolan. A wonderful read.

Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Graphic, Romantic
50 Shades of Grey Trilogy

The erotic romance between a naive college student, Anastasia Steele and the young millionaire, Christian Grey. Graphic, erotic, and at times unnerving the romance builds over three books. Book 1 does not have much of a story and simply graphically describes the sub-dominant culture. For me personally, I would have stopped at book 1 were it not for the club. Good thing because books 2 and 3 had a plot with unexpected twists and character development. I really found myself enjoying the story and quickly became hooked. I would have given it four stars were it not for book 1.

The supporting characters should have been developed further and appeared within the story more was the overall consensus of our book club. Also, beginning in book 2, the author begins to unfold the early childhood of Christian Grey to explain him in the present. As quickly as Christian's dysfuntional childhood is introduced and it is dropped BUT let's just admit that the reason for the books's popularity is not because it is great literature. The appeal is the simplicity, lack of detail, and the building unusual, romance between Anastasia and Christian. It is complete fantasy and a highly addictive, read! Enjoy the ride!

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
A must read for your book club--the conversation will be stimulating

The book opens with the funeral of Jack in a small town in Minnesota. As the widow and her daughter Trudy rush home from the funeral to prepare a luncheon for their neighbors, who never attend. Trudy realizes that even in her grief as a widow, her mother, Anna, cannot open up and share her emotions.

The story then backtracks to Anna's life during WWII in Germany. Those Who Save Us follows the story of Anna, a young girl who just lost her mother and lives with her Inaffectionate, unemotional father. Her life consists of housework and chores, as she is seen by her father as nothing more than a substitute for his dead wife. Anna begins to vist the local doctor, Max, the only person who will discuss her mother's death and ask about her feelings. Max, a Jewish man with whom she falls in love, and to whom she bears a child. Following his arrest, Anna is forced to begin life on her own and goes to great lengths to provide for her half Jewish child in Nazi Germany.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Husband\\\\\\\'s Secret

Everyone has a secret they would rather not reveal, or parts of themselves kept private. In The Husband\'s Secret, the lives of three women are effected by a lie in their own lives, as well as the secret of one man.

What is his secret? That is the question that makes this book so intriguing.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. However, at times there were so many characters and plot twists that bith my members and I had to go back and reread to clarify.

Our discussion was interesting. I\\\\\\\'m sure yours will be too.

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