The Married Women's Book Club is an established group of young women readers. Our passion for reading and our desperate attempt to leave our children and husbands and do something for ourselves has led us to this. Yes, we do discuss the book and eat good food at the same time. Well ladies, I needed to write something in this area.
To date we have reviewed the following books:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur S.
Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and
in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells
the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village
in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she
is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house.
We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha:
dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake
to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for
men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Novalee Nation has always been unlucky with sevens. She's seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight – and now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, holding just $7. 77 in change. An hour ago, she was on her way from Tennessee to a new life in Bakersfield, California. Suddenly, with all those sevens staring her in the face, she is forced to accept the scary truth: her no-good boyfriend Willy Jack Pickens has left her with empty pockets and empty dreams.
But Novalee is
about to discover treasures hidden in Sequoyah – a group of disparate and
deeply caring people, among them blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband, who
hands out advice and photocopied books of the Bible...
Novalee may be homeless and jobless, living secretly in a Wal-Mart, but she's beginning to believe she may have a future. Through all the touching and surprising adventures that lie ahead, she's going in the right direction.
Where the Heart
Is puts a human face on the look-alike trailer parks and malls of America's
small towns. It will make you believe in the strength of friendship, the
goodness of down-to-earth people, and the healing power of love. And it
will make you laugh and cry...every step of the way.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
in the Garden of Good and Evil has been heralded as a "lyrical work
of nonfiction," and the book's extremely graceful prose depictions of some
of Savannah, Georgia's most colorful eccentrics--remarkable characters
who could have once prospered in a William Faulkner novel or Eudora Welty
short story--were certainly a critical factor in its tremendous success.
(One resident into whose orbit Berendt fell, the Lady Chablis, went on
to become a minor celebrity in her own right.) But equally important was
Berendt's depiction of Savannah socialite Jim Williams as he stands trial
for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and
sometime companion toWilliams--characterized by locals as a "walking streak
of sex." So feel free to call it a "true crime classic" without a trace
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa in The Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable, and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?
In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible
revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect
on both his family and the village they have come to. As political instability
grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the
Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway
through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the
novel follows each member's fortune across a span of more than 30 years.
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony,
Charis, and Roz. All
three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance,
Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has
insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them. To
Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career,
Zenia is 'a lurkingenemy commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and
almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a coldand treacherous bitch.' To Charis,
who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens,
Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, New York Times
Book Review). In love and war, illusion and deceit, Zenia's subterranean
malevolence takes us deep into her enemies' pasts.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer
represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts
of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet
Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play
of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait
of the anonymous
Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.
Throughout, Chevalier cultivates a limpid, painstakingly observed style,
whose exactitude is effective homage to the painter himself. Even Griet's
most humdrum duties take on a high if unobtrusive gloss.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch's
As Astrid bumps from trailer park to tract house to Hollywood bungalow,
Oleander uncoils her existential anxieties. "Who was I, really?" she
asks. "I was the sole occupant of my mother's totalitarian state, my own
personal history rewritten to fit the story she was telling that day. There
were so many missing pieces." Fitch adroitly leads Astrid down a path of
sorting out her past and identity. In the process, this girl develops a
wire-tight inner strength, gains her mother's white-blonde beauty, and
achieves some measure of control over their relationship. Even from prison,
Ingrid tries to mold her daughter. Foiling her, Astrid learns about tenderness
from one foster mother and how to stand up for herself from another. Like
the weather in Los Angeles--the winds of the Santa Anas, the scorching
heat--Astrid's teenage life is intense. Fitch's novel deftly displays that,
and also makes Astrid's life meaningful