Wednesday, October 20

Book Club - October 19th Meeting

This month's Book - Freedom

Favorite book related quote of the meeting - “You had me at 200 pages.”
Favorite YHTBT quote of the meeting - “You’re in the soup with that shirt Pratt.”
(YHTBT - You Had To Be There)
For our first book, we picked something light, easy, and fun to read to give everyone a feel for participating in a monthly book club.  So we thought we were ready for a more serious and challenging book for the second month.  Boy, did we over shoot!  We picked Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  Definitely a book that has drawn major attention in the media.  We even picked it before it was announced to be on Oprah’s Book Club.  A sure sign we were on the right track!  But to finish in one month would take some major dedication.  And I believe I mentioned previously that those who have joined so far have careers and families and obligations, right?  No.  One month is ABSOLUTELY less than doable.  Therefore, we will be spreading this out across October and November.  And you know, we all decided last night, that there are SO many things to discuss with just the first half, that we were glad we were taking two months to read and discuss it.
The book is somewhat of a slow start.  Not because it is boring, but because you have so much information coming at you all at once.  Names, places, dates, basically all of the characters are laid out in the first chapter.  It can be a little overwhelming.  But don’t get discouraged.  I suggest downloading the list of characters to keep as a reference.  Sounds like an over achiever move I know.  But trust me, it works.  I found a list on Oprah.com under the book club section - www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Quick-Character-Guide-for-Freedom-by-Jonathan-Franzen-Oprahs-Book-Club.
Best advice - get to chapter three.  Do the best you can to keep up until then using the characters guide, writing in the margins, whatever it takes.  Once you get to Chapter 3, it will all become clear and much easier to read.  And furthermore, a much more enjoyable book.  Once you get here, you really start finding out more about the main characters - the Berglunds, and let us not forget Richard Katz.  Stories that seemed random and out of place in Chapters 1 and 2, will have more meaning once you begin Chapter 3.
Some key themes or highlights that we are seeing so far are:
    • People try to be the opposite of what their parents were, trying to be perfect, and sometimes end up being exactly how their parents were making the same mistakes.
    • Making the “smart” choice when marrying - who will get you what you want, the life that you desire.  Where does this get you in the long run?
    • The similarities between the Berglunds drama and reality TV - specifically Patty and how fake she acts with neighbors and friends.
    • One circumstance can alter your entire life.
    • Being the cool parent vs. being THE parent.
    • Will my child turn on me after all of the hard work I’ve put in raising them?
    • As a parent, there is such a thing as over sharing with your children.
One of our members (aka, CC) pointed out some great quotes:
    • p148 - “...he didn’t marry her in spite of who she was, he married her because of it.”
    • p148 - “Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.”
    • p125 - “...she’d run to a guy who physically didn’t do for her what his best friend did.”
    • p137 - “If you want to have friends, you have to remember that nobody’s perfect.”
    • p140 - “...craving sex with her mate was one of the things (OK, the main thing) she’d given up in exchange for all the good things in their life together.”
Highlights we discussed...
    • When crazy Eliza is referred to as Eliza Doolittle, is that in reference to The Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady?
    • Why are we looking up so many words for an understanding?  Well, let’s be clear.  Most of us are moving on ignoring those words, but some (okay one) is actually looking up the words that are foreign to us.  Examples - Bulgar, assonant, concentric.
    • Is Lindsay Lohan in prison?  I googled, and no, she is in Betty Ford.  But goes to court on Friday.  Yes, we talk about EVERYTHING!
    • Picking out a book to read is all about your mood.
    • “Freedom is the least commercial book I’ve read lately.”
    • HOW does this author, or any author, know so much about so many aspects of life in order to write content of this nature?
Until November...


  1. Great recap J. Pratt! I had SOOOO much fun Tuesday night. Everyone is so fun and FUNNY! Stephenie's dry humor, Tiffani's sarcasm, CC misunderstanding my obvious compliments to her (just kidding!), and your soupy shirts! I love book club!

  2. Hey - I just realized I could use my wordpress account to post comments. Cool.... I think.