My book club reads ten books a year, and (as you’d expect from a diverse group of women) it’s always a challenging, interesting and thoughtful line-up.
Here’s what we read in 2017:
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
- Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
- A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
- Small, Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I’m not going to go through all of them, but the dubious honour of Most Hated goes to….
…..Small, Great Things by Jodi Picoult.
It narrowly nudged out Lolita, which was loathed for different reasons (primarily the dark subject matter, rather than the quality of the writing).
Small, Great Things drew our ire mainly because of its trite handling of racial issues.
And my book club is uniquely placed to talk about such things because we ladies come in a wide variety of hues.
Some are African American, some are Bahamian, some are mixed race. And then there’s me. Plain old Irish.
So I like to think we represent a variety of experiences and it was very telling that not one of us could either identify with, or enjoy, the book.
Picoult’s crass handling of the story of an African American nurse who is implicated in the tragic death of a white supremacist couple’s baby left us cold.
She bounced from one stereotype to the next with a hectoring, moral tone and the overall impression is of a writer who bit off more than she could chew.
At the end of our discussion, one book club member said: “I’ve never read a book I’d like to burn before.”
I hear a movie adaptation is in the works, which is a horrifying thought.
If it comes to a cinema near you, just say no.
I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Small Great Things, but I would urge you to read our favourite book of the year (if you haven’t already) – 1984.
George Orwell’s literary warning of a dire, authoritarian future is a classic for a reason and holds up well.
A new year means new reads, and I’m looking forward to what the ladies come up with in 2018.
Any tips on what should make the list would be greatly appreciated….