Crimes Against a Book Club

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If you're doing the 2017 Read Harder Challenge - this is a book about books. Well, it may not be ABOUT books but every chapter starts out with a mini-reflection about a book through a character's eyes and there are numerous allusions to pop-lit throughout this book (Twilight, Harry Potter, Fifty Shades).

Annie is a chemist who has three kids. Her middle child is a pre-school aged boy who has recently been diagnosed as autistic. Her best friend is Sarah. They became friends in college and, although they live rather different lives, they remain close. Sarah would like a child but is having fertility issues.

On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):

Sex: 3

Religion: 0

Gruesome: 0

Suspense: 0

Morality: 3

Traditional: 3

Sex - Reference to anatomical parts in preparation for IVF. Reference to burlesque and corset. (end Ch. 30) Reference to a teacher being in erotic dreams of fathers. (p. 195) Minor reference to S&M and handcuffs. (p. 287) Mild reference to choosing a sex partner. (p. 304) Two references. (p. 309)

Religion - No references.

Gruesome - Nothing I recall.

Suspense - About as suspenseful as a dime-store novel.

Morality - Characters did the wrong thing for the right reasons and justified their behavior. (Ch. 46)

Traditional - p. 16, realistic language used to express frustrations regarding getting pregnant. p. 67, casual use of the "f" word. Reference to men dumping wives for newer models seen as somewhat glamorous. (p. 197-198)

There were so many side-bar women I read about them unfeelingly. I did not even try to keep each one straight. After we got each of their back-stories, they were referenced later just by name. I did not remember which one was who but it didn't make a difference - I was able to read through with only a vague idea of who each La Jolla woman was. I was reminded a bit of Sophie Kinsella novels with a lot of superfluous characters and situations.

Discussion Questions

Annie's favorite book in middle school was "Lord of the Flies", what was yours? What were your middle school impressions of "Lord of the Flies"?

What did you notice about the supposed scientist's last name (Etinav)? Did you figure it out before it was revealed at the top of p. 292?

Have you ever felt shunned from a social group like Natalie did? (Ch. 26) How did you handle it?

Was Sarah a true friend to Annie, especially considering how Sarah interacted with Chloe (Annie's mom)? (Ch. 29 & 30)

Valerie felt that only women in their 20s and 30s could afford to take chances with their appearances. (p. 220) Do you agree?

Valerie thought her jewelry was good luck. Do you have any talismans? (p. 220)

Discuss the irony of Sarah saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." in regards to not selling cream to Natalie. (p. 226)

Was Natalie right to go to the police? (Ch. 45)

Could Sarah really forgive Annie just because Chloe asked? (p. 295)

Do you agree that "Men grow distinguished while women simply grow old"? (p. 307)

Theme Ideas

Serve turkey sandwiches and Diet Coke in honor of Sarah. (Ch. 5)

Decorate with yellow roses like Harry brought Annie. (p. 120)

Meet at or serve food from Costco's snack bar.

Decorate with a mardi gras theme like the Gillespie school gala. (Ch. 31)

Serve Ben & Jerry Chunky Monkey and Bryers chocolate ice cream. (Ch. 37)

Serve white chardonnay because "every year is a good one". (p. 288)