Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Ladies' Book Club: April 2012


Book Read: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey  
Niffennegger

Ladies In Attendance:
5 members 

To Read or Not to Read:
All 5 read it. (I'm the 6th that was not in attendance). 3 liked it, 2 "ok read", 1 disliked it.

Treats Shared:
Wine, Black Box Moscato and Shiraz
Taco dip & chips, chocolate chip cookies, red velvet cake, Girl Scout
Cookies, Cheese Curds, Chips & Salsa, Wheat Thins & Hummus

My Reaction:
I had read this several years ago before it was released and loved it. I was one of those who read The Time Traveler's Wife late, really late. But I loved it, just like everyone else did. I was very excited to read her follow up. Though different and quite a bit darker, I still enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry. Here is my review from 2009. I was happy when the ladies picked this one because, a) I didn't have to read another book and b) it's a good one with lots to discuss.

In case you are not familiar, here is a description from Goodreads:
Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers--with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life--even after death


The Ladies' Reaction:

"Unrealistic plot. Pregnant & switching people. Didn't like
anything about the plot.  C
ontrast to The Time Traveler's Wife which had a strong core relationship. Odd interpersonal relationships,
Unbelieveable. Scenery, etc. very detailed & believeable ... I enjoyed that."

"Everyone is "trying to pull a fast one over on someone else" but
no one is telling them."

"Something kept her spirit on earth ... what" no unresolved
issues? How/Why was she trapped in the house? Interesting ghost
stories. Intriguing but not believable. Quick read"

" Some strange parts, but an entertaining
read.  Swaps character focus mid-paragraph sometimes ... odd writing style
Twins relationship was creepy, almost incestuous."


These were snippets from the conversation taken from my pal Kari. It seems like it was a rather heated discussion. Even though I rather enjoyed it, I can certainly see the points that the ladies made.

Good Book Club Pick?
Overall, yes. Though opinions were divided, it still brought on a good, healthy discussion.

Next Book up?
When she Woke by Hillary Jordan (which we have already read and discussed. Post to come)

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

4 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Cool review. Considering my feelings for The Time Traveler's Wife, I don't think I dig this one.

I want to go to your book club!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I'm one of the few who didn't really like The Time Travellers Wife so I have stayed away from this one. But it seems like it is very different and I like the sound of the plot more, so I might have to give it a go after all.

Lisa said...

Divided opinions make for a much better discussion! I was on the side that didn't much care for the story of this one and had the same kinds of questions like why was the ghost trapped?

luv46kdz said...

I picked this book up a couple of months ago, I should have chose it for my June book club choice since I'm hosting it.

Paula