Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February 2008 Book Club Meeting

The Preschool Moms Book Club met yesterday afternoon. That was the first time in our 5 1/2 year existence that we didn't meet in the evening. Last week, we were blanketed with snow and ice so we had to postpone our meeting. Most of us were able to meet during the day, so we packed up a few of the kids and met to discuss THE TORTILLA CURTAIN by TC Boyle.

Summary: Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding. - penguin group (usa)

We all thought it was a good book for discussion, but none of us was quite willing to go so far to say that we enjoyed the book. I don't mean that in a negative way, but the subject matter (illegal immigrants) was such an unsettling topic that to say we "enjoyed" the book would be difficult. We all thought that the book was extremely well written and handled the issues of immigration in a very thought provoking way. We agreed that Mr. Boyle is a terrific writer and his use of symbolism thoughout the story was very well done. An interview with TC Boyle as well as the reading guide can be found here.

One point of frustration for all of us was the overall problem of illegal immigration. Not to say that we thought we'd find answers to the questions at our little old book club meeting, but a few of us voiced concern that there might not be a "good" answer for everyone involved. That we live in the best country in the world and can't find a solution that benefits everyone (or at least almost everyone) is so depressing. What we all found to be incredible is that this book was written in the mid-1990s and is still incredibly pertinent today. Because we found the topic so exhausting, we tended to start straying from the book (that's not unusual for us anyway -- we're a bunch of moms who don't get out a lot)!

Our March selection is THE DARKEST CHILD by Delores Phillips. Click here for my prior post about this book. I'm sure that this book will generate a lot of discussion as well; and I'm looking forward to our next meeting.


Anonymous said...

Immigration is SUCH a hot topic where I live (Southern California) that I am really hesitant to bring this book up to my book club as a possible selection. The discussion could get really ugly and emotional. It's just a little too close for comfort and I know we'd have people passionately on both sides of the issue. I just don't think I want to go there with my nice little book club.

Anonymous said...

Dontcha just love book club night (or afternoon as in this case)!