My reviewrating: 3 of 5 stars
A difficult book to read - perhaps it's one that's trying too hard to do too much? What I mean is, there are four things going on, and in some ways they all get short shrift. A marriage disintegrates over religion... a woman finds herself suddenly to be "important" in ways that she doesn't quite expect... a son comes out to his parents... how to understand literature in a world that doesn't quite read any more. Any one of those would overwhelming, and as a group it just feels like there's something not quite There.
Ostensibly this is the story of Anne's book club(s), but the choices she makes for the groups are deliberate Messages Choices. Because we only get her take on the books, rather than the groups reactions to them, there's nothing to counterbalance her opinions. When Howard decides that being a cultural Jew is not enough, we see this through her rather cool, non-Jewish, half-British eyes. There's almost a sense of mocking that this could, for anyone, be important (totally in character for Anne, but still...).
Over all I liked it, but the didactic nature of the dismissal of religion niggled; Anne's voice was not always easy to read, another niggle.
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