Monday, March 31, 2014

A Review of 'The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls' by Julie Schumacher

"I'm Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club.  Most of us didn't want to join.  My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace.  CeeCee's parent's forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car.  The members of 'The Unbearable Book Club,' CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade AP English.  But we weren't friends.  We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool.  If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under 'mother-daughter literary catastrophe.'  Or open this book and read my essay, which I'll turn in when I go back to school."

I read this book in February.  I'm really glad that I did, because it helped me see the end of the tunnel: summer will eventually reach Minnesota and things will be warm and pleasant again.

I had seen this book floating around the blogosphere a really long time ago, but I had never borrowed a copy until recently.  Thank goodness for my county's digital library borrowing system.  I get the instant gratification of borrowing books without going outside to get them!  And I've been using my e-Reader more than I have before, so I feel good about that too.

And now, to the book.

I had a hard time with the characters.  They were fine at first, because that's how they are and you have to accept them to a certain extent.  It was how they were at the end of the book that bothered me.  It didn't feel like they changed.  I thought that they'd end up staying together for the most part.  But everything just sort of crumbled... that was disappointing.  I also feel like I needed to know more about each of the characters.  Julie Schumacher seems rather possessive of her characters by not telling us about them and not having them interact to the extent that they could.  It didn't seem like any of the girls (or the mothers, for that matter) formed any kind of a relationship with each other.  Not really.  The characters are pretty flat or if not flat, they have smoke and mirrors in front of them.  CeeCee was just ridiculous.  She didn't seem to care about anyone.  Not even Jeff, when he died.  She ground my gears more than the other characters.  Wallis never said anything, but she was still an attractive character because we don't know anything about her and her "friends" don't seem to know anything either.  I would have liked to hear more about Wallis and Jill, for sure.

Despite the characters, there is a sort of charm and wit to the writing.  I had to giggle with some of the ways different characters, especially Adrienne, phrased things and talk about things.  There weren't a lot of "ha-ha" scenes in the book (mostly because they spent quite a bit of time being bored and bickering), but I appreciated the humor of the writing.

It really infuriated me when things were going wrong and no one did anything.  When Wallis came alone to the meetings and even went so far as to bring toiletries (who knows what her plans were), she stayed with Adrienne for a couple of nights and then left.  Adrienne wasn't even a good sport about it.  She was downright crabby about the situation.  I was most bothered because no one really took her home or tried to figure out what was going on at home.  I thought that Wallis was homeless or that her mother was dead and she was taking care of herself.  Apparently neither of these things were true.  But then why keep everything a secret?  We find out that CeeCee is dyslexic.  Adrienne even tells her mother at the end of the book but no one goes and tells CeeCee's family.  CeeCee can't get away with having no strategy to get through reading of any kind.  She still has two years of school left, potentially college, and of course the rest of her life.  She needs help but no one even takes the step to get her the help that she needs.  Maybe it's just the teacher in me, but that's doing her a real disservice.  It's unacceptable.

Even though I had a number of issues with this book, I still found that I liked it.  It's a light read, and I'm glad to have had that change of pace, especially since school has started.  It's nice to have a break and have time to read the books that I want to read as opposed to just the books that I'm expected to read.

I give 'The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls':
Thanks for Reading!


No comments:

Post a Comment

I love your comments! Comment away!