Books Are Pretty

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club.

Oh God.

Oh no.

Look at the cover. Legs and feet. Again. They won't stop. They will not stop with the legs and feet on chick lit book covers. This must be stopped. How can we stop them? What legislation can we pass? I can't take it anymore. Please, I implore you to rise up and strike a blow to publishers everywhere: No more legs and feet, or so help us, we'll start reading only the Russian greats! Try and put legs and feet on those covers, I dare you.

It seems that not even sixty year old chicks are immune from the dreaded cliché. And they even gave her a cat and a glass of wine!

Poor Virginia Ironside. Afforded no dignity, even in her senior years. Not that she or her heroine Marie Sharp want any crumbs thrown their way, thank you.

No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club is the droll diary of one Marie Sharp, who celebrates her 60th birthday by starting a journal. Unlike most seniors, who find it important to keep their brains and bodies active and as youthful as possible, Marie decides old age is an excellent opportunity to let it all go. No more will she feel pressured to learn Italian, or see China, and she'll never, ever join a book club! No silly, clichéd rubbish for her!

The novel focuses a lot on Marie's cantankerous observations on the less-than-glamorous aspects of aging. I was using it as a sort of guide, a window as it were to my future in twenty five years, when one of the chapters begins with her best friend Penny calling her to state in a panic, "I can't seem to find my clioris."

Then I screamed in terror and ran away. I don't want to know anymore!

When Marie's son Jack becomes a father to baby Gene, Marie's dry wit and stiff upper lip melts and novel goes from being a Bridget-Jones-As-Silver-Fox chronicling the live and loves of aging Boomers to a sentimental love story that flawlessly articulates the love grandparents feel for their grandchildren. According to Marie, it's unconditional love without the fear and crushing responsibility of motherhood. Who wouldn't love that?

In between the bits of myopic love and worry Marie lavishes on baby Gene, she also manages, despite her insistence that it's all over, to attend parties, attend to her dying close friend Hughie and his grieving partner James, mentor her housemate, a pretty French teenager, and, possibly, fall in love again.

No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club is a chick lit book with a decidedly different pace, while it may not be for twenty-somethings, older readers with no desire to grow old gracefully will definitely identify with Marie. Like the woman who wrote this Amazon review:

I am recommending it to our book club of older women; sure can identify with the subject matter.

Marie would just die.

No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club
by Virginia Ironside
April 2007 by Viking
Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 0670038180

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