Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Confessions of Max Tivoli

Better late than never on this recap of last week's BC, co-hosted by El Jefe and the Foxx at Chez Jefe. Dinner was lish-- charcuterie and fromage to start (including some authentic Camembert Francaise imported by Red, which still is stinking up El Jefe's refrigerator!), followed by a tasty lasagna and salad with crusty bread, and two kinds of homemade cookies for dessert. Yummy. Who needs to talk about books when we can just eat?

But we did, and Confessions of Max Tivioli was pretty popular coming in with a healthy 8.75. Aside from a few comments that the book started slowly or some parts dragged a little, the group really liked CMT overall. It had a little of everything: humor, unique storyline, interesting characters, and tearjerker moments. Everyone especially appreciated that the plot of the novel was so unique: not only does the main character have the singular characteristic of aging backwards, but the twists and turns of the story were revealed little by little in an interesting way that kept the reader intrigued throughout. Although it was difficult to get a mental picture of Max at times, people thought he was a sympathetic character--but with some faults. For example, why couldn't he get over Alice, his boyhood infatuation, even when he was himself approaching old age? Was he emotionally caught in a childlike state just like his body? Also: why didn't he come clean with Alice about his medical condition? By lying to her, he was dooming the relationship from the outset. The group generally also liked Hughie, Max's best friend very much, and his sad death at the end of the novel made a few people cry. Why didn't Max want to stay with him and let Hughie care for him? After all, Max's regression to a childlike state was not much different from Hughie growing old; as Ms. K. said, we all become like children at the end of our lives. Alice on the other hand got a lukewarm reception. People didn't understand her motivations with men, why she left two husbands, and why Max was so attracted to her in the first place. Aside from the characters, it's also worth noting that people appreciated the author's extensive research in re-creating turn-of-the-century San Francisco from the clothing styles to the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

Our next meeting is back on schedule, Wednesday October 5, at the Foxx's house! The Doctor is bringing apps, Ms. K. dessert. We are reading Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life, which is the biography of Queen Noor of Jordan.