Friday, August 22, 2014

Mother-Daughter Dim Sum Book Club Tackles Dickens

Or, it might be more accurate to say, Dickens tackled the Mother-Daughter Dim Sum Book Club. Despite Great Expectations being one of his shorter works, my 11YO gave up, my 15YO only made it through 92% by meeting day, and Other Mom confessed to skimming as she drew near the end, reading only if she saw the names of main characters.

However, Dickens did garner an all-time, best-of-3 score of 9 out of 10 from Other Mom's 15YO! I consider that an absolute triumph. And her 13YO's literary analysis skills (the reason we were even doing this book club in the first place) struck me as entirely up to par. When we were talking setting, and I asked about all the fog in the opening scene, she responded that it symbolized how everything was unsure and confusing at the outset. Yup. Exactly. Pip doesn't know who is who and what is what, and if that doesn't symbolize the main theme of the book, I don't know what does!

To top everything off, Other Mom said her girls would like to continue the book club in some fashion. As a person who loves books and wants to create voracious readers, this kind of comment makes me feel like my work on earth is done.

But the summer club is ended--hope you tried one of these books for yourself (I got my book club to add The Hiding Place)--so it's time for awards.

FUNNIEST LITERARY COMPARISON DRAWN: "Miss Havisham isn't like Emily (of Deep Valley). She doesn't bounce back." Very, very good point. When Miss Havisham suffered her romantic blow, she knuckled completely under, abandoning sense, joy, proper parenting practices, and hygiene. In comparison, our valiant Emily put her hair up in a Psyche knot, fried up some frog legs, and got on with living. Well done, Emily!

What doesn't kill you makes you stranger

FUNNIEST BOOK READ: that would be Great Expectations. When we went around the table, almost everyone could point to a scene that made them laugh, even laugh aloud. And when we went to watch a movie version, there was disappointment that some of the opening jokes had been cut.

B+-EST MOVIE ADAPTATION: the 2012 version. We were annoyed by Estella's light hair (why is it movie producers can't do something so simple as to make an actor look like s/he is described in the book?? It so annoyed me that Daniel Radcliffe's hair didn't stand up as Harry Potter, and that he didn't wear green contacts.), and by how conflicted Estella was about Pip. Where was the heartlessness? Plus they cut the whole Orlick character and severely reduced Mrs. Joe Gargery's screen time, and Sally Hawkins was such a scene-stealer. Also, this interpretation of Joe made him weirdly aggressive. On the other hand, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter were fine, and we liked Herbert Pocket. Weird to see Hagrid as Jaggers, though.

Why this version? Because it was streaming on Netflix.

BEST CHAR SIU BAO: the award goes to King's.

NOT King's, but you get the idea []
Altogether, the summer was a success, and I definitely would consider doing this again. Maybe next year can be a boy-book summer, to involve my son and other mother-son combos.

In other news:

  • I'm on chapter 4 of the next book in my Hapgoods of Bramleigh series. I didn't do much writing over the summer and saw the discouraging statistic that ONE BOOK IS PUBLISHED ON AMAZON EVERY HOUR, so this might take a while...
  • gave A Very Plain Young Man a 5-star review, which was a thrill!
  • You are what you read? An MSU study finds that readers of Fifty Shades of Grey are more likely to have abusive boyfriends and eating disorders..? 
Wishing everyone a happy back-to-school and more free time for reading!


  1. Hey, I love the idea of a mother-daughter book club. I don't think my 3 y.o. would have any in-depth comments, and we have NO dim sum around here. Jealous! Good on ya.

    1. What? Don't want to talk about THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR for an hour??? :) And I can't believe there's no dim sum around you. I was already pitying myself for only getting the good stuff twice a year...