Thursday, June 26, 2008

Review: The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble

Last night I finished The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble. This book brings together 5 women who don't all know each other. Harriet and Nicole are best friends, moms of younger kids, and in their thirties. Polly and Susan have teenagers, are best friends and in their forties. Clare is twenty-something, childless, and her mom works with Susan. It tells about their lives for a year, real crisis' they deal with, and shares their thoughts at the books they read that year.

The story is written in lots of different voices - all 5 women, a couple of husbands, and Polly's teen daughter. There are headers to help know who is talking, not really chapter titles, but more prompts to help change focus. At the beginning of the book, I kept getting confused, even with the headers, as to who was 'talking', what their story was, and how it related to the other ladies. It wasn't clear at first who knew who within the group. Once I got further into the book, it was very easy to shift between narrators. And I grew to care about the characters. I was rooting for each of them to resolve their current issues, was upset at what I knew would be the consequences of some their actions, and cheering when things worked out well.

I enjoyed their conversations about the books read too, especially since I only have read one of the 12 books they picked. The book group meetings were written in dialogue format and I could just see everyone talking over one another, discussing ("arguing"), and learning just as it happens in my book clubs. I look forward to a sequel - if one is planned - to see where they are in a few years.

2 comments:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Getting confused on who is who happens to me when the author fails to make a very clear distinction in the characters at the beginning. Glad it cleared up a little later though. I am not too sure I would have stuck it out that long.

Michele said...

It really didn't take that long to figure it out. And the author tried very hard, there were just alot of characters. And, I'm picky! LOL I want to be into the book asap!