Monday, January 22, 2007

What Happens in Book Club...

The girl belongs to a book club after school. It really seems like a great thing on the surface: They meet once a week for an hour and they are matched up with a Junior High age girl as their sister. They get a copy of the book they are reading to keep and snacks are served. Seems just about perfect. The problem comes in with the book they've been reading since the beginning-- "Little Women". Of all the wonderful, TIMELY books that they could be reading, why oh why, are they reading "Little Women"? It's been a long, long time since I read it and I'll confess I don't remember much about it. My mom had (and I'm sure it's still somewhere in the house) a Louisa May Alcott little treasury set. I can still picture it-- four little green hard-bound books in their own case. I loved how those books looked. I know that I read "Little Women", but I remember it took me a long time. I never read the other three. Not a good sign.

When the girl came home from her first meeting with her own fat paperback of it, I was baffled. What were the organizers thinking? Come to find out they are thinking that a production of "Little Women" will be in Cleveland in the spring and they are taking the girls on a field trip to see it then. Are they reading any other books? No, just this. They have a schedule of chapters to keep up with that will take them right up to the show, I guess. That is, if there's anyone left in the club to take.

Girls have been dropping out a steady pace of a one or two a meeting since the start. My girl and her two closest pals are sticking it out, though, I'm not sure why. All they do is complain- the book is boring, the older girls spend the meeting just visiting with each other, the snacks are gross- it's all unhappiness! I think it's almost a contest between them now: Who can stand it the longest.

To help the girl keep up, I checked out the book on CDs from the library. I thought listening to it would make it easier to follow for her and it seems to be working for her. Occasionally she'll come to me with a especially thick passage that she needs me to make sense of for her. This is not a fun book to read by anyones standard.

I assume that the existence of this club was to promote a love of reading, but it seems like a giant failure to me. When she comes home all bummed out by another annoying meeting, it makes me want to do is start my own book club. But I would do it right. The first book we would read would be "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman just to let them know that I mean business and this not going to be your average book club. After that maybe "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech. Then they wouldn't know what to expect. What's it going to be next? "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" or "Pride and Prejudice"? Could be anything! But I really doubt "Little Women" would ever make my reading list!

5 comments:

Nance said...

Oh my. This makes me sad. I read Little Women and loved it. I still do. It's a little bit sad, I think, that it can't be appreciated even just as a historic thing. I don't remember the language being difficult, and I read it when I was probably about 8 or so. Yes, it's dated, but it's during the Civil War! And was written then. I realize that the girls seem "goody goody" to 21st century girls now, but still....

J. said...

I left out an important part in the blog and that is that even thought the girl struggles, she does like the story. That's what keeping her in. Don't give up on modern girls just yet. There's still hope!

Brewer said...

I have an odd list of things that i would "take care of" if I could travel in time or became a member of the Q continum and "Little Women" is one of them along with Melville.

J. said...

Brewer, you really have some deep resentment against Moby Dick! Did someone force you to read it once upon a time?

Briana said...

Great work.