This month’s books were:
Our discussion started with After I’m Gone, and unusual for this group but it was all around thumbs up from the 11 members who had read the book.
Excellent writing was praised, and one member commented that the author was able to “get inside people’s (her character’s) heads.” Another member made the point that although the characters were all likeable [perhaps, redeemed] at the end, there were points throughout were each character was unlikable–just like real life.
The story, the plot and the characters were all strong. No one guessed the ending to the mystery either, although everyone agreed it was a perfectly fitting ending that made complete sense.
Some felt challenged by the way the time frame went back and forth, but agreed this is a typical “cold case” style and this author handled it well.
We spent quite a bit of time talking about Felix, whose presence was felt despite his absence. His strength of presence was well juxtaposed against his weakness of character in the choices he made.
One reader made the point that although the mystery was well done, the mystery wasn’t the main focus. Rather, the novel was really about how all these people’s lives were changed by one man. Another reader commented about the very realistic “sister dynamic” which was a large part of the novel.
The very end [spoiler alert], when we saw our last glimpse of Felix, felt spot on to the group. All alone in the end–poetic and real justice.
We then moved on to discuss The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax. Opinions were more mixed.
4 thumbs up.
2 thumbs down.
1 thumb hovering in the middle.
My favorite comment, especially since I agree, was, “I want to be Mrs. Pollifax when I grow up!”
Those who liked Mrs. Pollifax tended be more lenient to the utter absurdity of the plot. Another spot on comment was how you had to decide if you were going to “laugh with it or laugh at it.” If you were prepared to sit back and enjoy the “romp” and laugh with it, it was a thoroughly enjoyable beach read cozy. If you were going to laugh at it, it was a dated, “massively improbable” novel.
There was even some dissent as to whether or not the characters and scenes were appropriate for their time or not (remember, the book was published in 1970). One member commented on how ladies of a “certain age” did dress and act just like Mrs. Pollifax, with the hair and the hats and gloves, etc. Others felt that even the “love in” felt out of time and place.
One final note: the two men in our group couldn’t even finish it. The women were more likely to enjoy it as a sweet cozy or at least tolerate it for what it was.