We had a wonderful start with our brand new motherhood book club and had our first discussion and guest speaker last week! I am planning on sharing some of our discussion topics when I return from vacation but for now, you can read more about our first book club meeting HERE on Instagram. You can read more details about the book club in my blog post HERE.
November 2019 Better Together Book Club Selection
While many of you are too far away to participate in person, a lot of you have shared an interest in following along! We are excited to announce our second Better Together Book Club selection, Small Animals by Kim Brooks.
This book made my top books of 2018 list HERE, I discussed the book topic HEREand shared my full book review HERE. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts!
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
September 17th, 2019
The hard copy of Red at the Bone is patiently waiting in my October TBR pile but that stack is getting pretty big…So a couple of weeks ago I looked on the Libby App (you can read more about the Libby App on my blog post about Kindle e-readersHERE) and our library recently purchased a copy of the audiobook so the wait was only 2 weeks. I listened to this one yesterday (clocking it at 3.5 hours it was totally doable!) and wow!
This was an amazingly beautiful audiobook and the four narrators along with Jacqueline Woodson were just incredible. I love stories that bring us back to how someone arrived at a poignant moment in time. Red at the Bone moves back and forth with different timelines to include stories of the main character’s family members and flowed very easily for me as a listener.
The perspectives on life, parenthood, identity, race, class, and self-discovery are raw, powerful, thought-provoking and also heartwarming. While this book is on the shorter side, it packs a punch. Woodson’s writing evokes emotion and I love that she had each multi-faceted character speak for themselves which I think added so much depth and perspective. I highly recommend this and it was just wonderful on audio!
“In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.
When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.
Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.”
Wow!! Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a surprise hit for me and I just enjoyed it so much. This was my first book by Karma Brown and it definitely won’t be my last! I loved the format of the dual timelines and I became very immersed with both of the main characters.
Brown introduces us to Alice, who has recently moved out of the city to a fixer-upper with her husband. As her roles are shifting in her own home life, Alice discovers a cookbook and magazines from the previous homeowner. This discovery introduces us to the other main character in this book, Nellie.
The storyline then goes back and forth between present-day Alice and Nellie a “housewife” in the 1950s. I loved how Brown took us back to that era and really dove into what life was like for women and the expectations there was of Nellie as a wife in that time period.
The story shifts between Nellie’s narrative, and Alice’s discovery of Nellie’s past while also learning more about her own marriage. Each chapter started with quotes from marital advice from the (not so distant) past and it really helped set the scene for how different life was in the early and mid-1900s.
Brown keeps you super involved in both storylines and I loved that while it was a completely engaging read, it took on some powerful and timely topics. The twists at the end were satisfying, clever and bold. Recipe For A Perfect Wife will definitely stick with me and it would make a wonderful book club discussion.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy.