Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Thousand Pardons

Oy, El Jefe has really slacked off this summer and is relegated to backdating the blog posts. But why call it slacking off when we can call it "being flexible?" A way belated thanks to Logan's Run for hosting July BC, with a special appearance by none other than Blondie- once in BC, always in BC: it was just like old times! Glad we proved we still hold the bar high as far as food is concerned. We shared CA and ID gossip over bruschetta with three kinds of toppings (pesto and parm, roasted beets with fresh feta, and roasted red bell peppers with chives), followed by orzo with roasted veggies and an amazing salad (maple syrup dressing from Gwenyth's cookbook, right?) and assorted French pastries and cookies. Lish!!

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee garnered a 5.7. It was a full house, and everybody voted. One or two high scores were countered by a number of votes in the 4-5 range, with a lot of consistency in the comments. To refresh memories: this was the story of the housewife, Helen, whose husband cheated with the law firm summer intern and went broke from the resulting legal battle. Helen was forced to move to NYC and take a job in crisis management PR. She runs into an old high school flame now movie star, Hamilton Barth, and subsequently "rescues" him from a drunken oblivion and hides him in her ex-husband's house while trying to locate Hamilton's one-night stand and prove she (the one-night stand) is still alive. Meanwhile, the adopted daughter is getting into all kinds of delinquency. And then at the end, um, they move back in together? That part is pretty fuzzy in El Jefe's memory which is exactly the problem people had: the first half of the book was fun and sensationalist, while the second half just kind of went nowhere, despite the high expectations that maybe there would be a murder! Maybe Helen and Hamilton would get together in a sizzling romance! Maybe the adopted daughter would do something really crazy! But, no, they all just kind of resumed their post-divorce, post-scandal, post-trouble-making-African American boyfriend lives. At the worst, Ms. K wondered why an author would even write this, setting up the reader for nothing to happen. Anopther critique was that the author treated Helen very harshly. We were all picturing her as middle aged and dowdy, loathed by her teenage daughter, struggling to get back into the workforce. But then we find out she's only like-- our age! Ouch. On the flip side, a couple of people thought that for all its hints towards celebrity and drama, the book had a streak of realiam and, going even further, the author actually was deliberate in giving the book a somewhat drab ending. That is, neither marriage nor divorce may be all that exciting, affairs don't always end in a huge dramatic flame out, and resuming commonplace lives is, well, just what happens most of the time.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Club of Books to find out what happened to the Sun Valley book club which turned into the LA and Sun Valley book clubs which turned into just the LA book club. Funny how natural disasters can do that. See everyone tomorrow to discuss our August and September books. And happy End o' Summer! xoej