Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Club #2- Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons


Book Club #2

January's Book: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

1. During the sixties and seventies, the Angry Housewives smoked cigarettes and threw back highballs-even while pregnant-without knowledge of the harm it could do. If they could have glimpsed their futures then, what do you think would have surprised them most about their future selves? What is one thing you know now that you would have really appreciated being aware of ten years ago?
I think the AH would be shocked to find out the harmful effects of smoking and alcohol (and drugs!) during a pregnancy. I was so surprised to read about their bad habits during all of their pregnancies!
The one thing I wish I would have known at age 13 was that you won't end up with your 9th grade boyfriend (most likely, there are some like my parents and my bff virginia who will!)
2. Why do you think groups like AHEB-women who live near each other, raise children together, and bond over books together-persist even in a climate of working moms and in a culture that is flooded with other types of media?
I think that friendships that the AHEB-women have are essential. Looking at my mom's friends, it is amazing to see how many of them were her friends when she got married until today. She still has supper club, bridge club, and other social events, and the majority of her friends' children are my friends. I think that you have to make time to have these types of friendships to learn who you are.

3. Audrey has a talent for sensing upcoming events. In what ways do her capabilities influence how she deals with her family? Does it differ from how they affect her friendships? How much do you believe in psychic phenomena? Would being endowed with such a gift help or hinder one's decisions?
I think her ESP-type senses made her more protective of her family. I can't imagine going through life with those capabilities. I was thinking about the psychic phenomena after reading the book and I have to think  that it does exist to some level. There isn't any way for someone to know something before it happens without it being real, right? I certainly am glad I do not have those capabilities because I think learning from experiences after they happen are more beneficial. Also, in Audrey's situation with her husband, she could have gone the rest of her life without finding out about his infidelity, if not for her senses. In this situation, it shows you the lack of integrity people have!

4. How do you feel about the later inclusion of Grant as a member of AHEB? Did you think the inclusion of a male affected their particular group dynamic? What is valuable about inviting men to participate in women's dialogue?
I'm not sure how to answer this question. I don't want to parade around my beliefs about sexual orientation, but as a very conservative person, I wouldn't have liked having a male in my female book club. I think that change isn't neccessarily always a good thing, but maybe the AHEB could have had another social event to include Grant. I'm sure having the male in the book discussion was helpful and gave a different insight, but sometimes I just like things to be female-only!

5. Merit eventually finds Paradise, literally and figuratively. Do you believe that good things come to people who wait?
Absolutely. I believe that and I also believe that things come to you when you aren't searching for them. Merit wasn't looking for a new husband, but Mr. Paradise came when she needed him most. Sometimes I think those relationships are the most special (tooting my horn a little bit here haha).

6. How are midwestern values portrayed in this book? In what ways might the book have differed if it had been set in the northeast or the south?
After living in the midwest for 3 months and the rest of my life in the south, I have learned a couple of cultural differences.
#1: Southerners sugar-coat things and issues they have with others, while Midwesterns flat out tell you the truth. There are positive and negative things about both, and I think this is shown in the book. When two of the AH get in a huge fight, they stayed mad at each other for a while and wouldn't apologize. In the south, I feel like people make up easier because things are sugar coated. Does that make sense?
#2: Manners- Southerners have excellent manners (yes ma'am, no sir, thank you, please, opening doors, etc) and midwesterners don't as much. Hope no one reading here takes this the wrong way, but lets be honest... When in the South, aren't the guys extremely gentlemanly? Tell me if I'm wrong! :)
I think these aspects affected the overall feel of the women of the AH set in Minnesota. It's also colder there so of course people aren't as warm and friendly. Haha, that was a joke.

7. Did you like the format of the book? How did giving every character the opportunity to voice their thoughts support the all-for-one and one-for-all theme of the book and the club itself?
It took me a while to figure out the layout, and often times I like that with books. Faith's letters threw me off some. I did like getting to know each character on a personal basis.

8. In order to attain a greater understanding of herself, Faith utilizes therapy, learns from her friendships and culls inspiration from books. How do these three supplement each other as means of self discovery? Which books and authors have inspired you most through the years?

I think these are very important these days. Today the media is more influential than books, so I think if the book were set in 2010, it would have been different. Some of my favorite and most inspirational books are:
The Happiness Project
Katie Couric's The Best Advice I Ever Got
As a child, the Chicken Soup books
Obviously scripture from the Bible
Calm My Anxious Heart (the book for my Bible study group at home)

9. What did you think of Merit's idea to unite mothers around the world to stop war and halt violence? Were you surprised this notion came from her?
I thought this idea would come from Slip! Go Merit for deep-thinking!

10. Slip tells Merit that re-dubbing their book club Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons would be taking their husbands' words and "giving them and their chauvinism the finger." What other subversive techniques do the women display for giving chauvinism the finger? Do you feel it's an apt name for the club and all it turns out to be?
I think that Merit's going behind Eric's back was the main one! I think their name was very creative and most of the time they were angry AND were eating!

11. How does AHEB compare to our book club? Are there any ideas in the novel, like themes for meetings, which you'd like to incorporate?
I think its important to find a group of people that you might not have anything in common with and have that chance to connect. There are so many bloggers who I wouldn't have necessarily become friends with before blogging (and book club) and it is something that can bring us together (cheesy). 

12. Which character was your favorite? Was she or he the one you identified most with?
There isn't one character that I identify with, but I see aspects of myself in some of the characters. I felt for Merit the whole book because in situations like that I always want to help the victim, but in a book that is hard to do! My favorite character overall was probably Audrey.. or Faith.

13. A number of the characters in the book harbor secrets. What does secret-keeping do to characters like Faith and Fred, who fear their actual secrets as opposed to Kari or Beau who fear the reactions of others?
Geez, tough questions. Faith's life was encompassed by her fear. She was keeping the secret about her mother for her entire life and tried to not believe the secret about Beau. Fred was just so scarred from his military experience that he lived in fear. Beau and Kari certainly are afraid of what others think, but for good reason. Kari did it to protect Julia AND Mary Jo and Beau did it to protect Faith because he knew how she would react to his secret. In the end of the book, I think it was important that everyone's secrets came out and ended up "happily ever after" for the most part.
Fun, easy book to read. Recommend it if you want a girly quick read!

Ta ta,

Check out Lindsey's adorable giveaway @ her blog!

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