Book club bannock & jube jubes

Dec 19, 2012

Last week I attended my two first book clubs with The Shore Girl. What a privilege to meet with such lovely, insightful women and book lovers.   

Both groups had been meeting regularly for years, their club etiquette now a fine art. All came ready to dig deep into the pages. A number of women had read The Shore Girl twice, and some came with pages of hand-written notes. I learned more about my book in a few short hours than I could ever learn by ruminating on my own.

At Brenda’s house we shared a fabulous potluck dinner topped off with chocolate-covered Jube Jubes. Betty served up bannock and baked beans to go along with the book’s theme. She said she was tempted to go with purple juice and crackers with peanut butter, but thought her group might mutiny if the wine was missing. Her son had even made a Lego map of Alberta that showed the stops along Rebee’s journey.  

I should have taken notes at these meetings, because now I can’t remember all the great questions asked. In both groups we chatted at length about each of the characters. Jake was uniformly well-loved, and I was happily surprized at how fond readers were of supporting characters like Eddy and Mrs. Nielson. It’s the writer’s job to make every character memorable, so I’m glad these two shone brightly for readers. Miss Bel was the most contentious of the bunch, especially for the teachers in the room, who were highly relieved that she got herself out of the teaching business promptly. The groups wanted to know if the light trick with the Wintergreen life savers really works. The answer is yes, although Wintergreen is hard to find these days.  

Some questions I couldn’t answer. One woman wanted to know what happened to Jake’s brother. Despite all his trying to find his missing brother, Jake never does solve that mystery, and since I can only know what Jake knows, neither do I. Hopefully, Matt really is decked out on a beach somewhere in his undershirt and shorts, a Tequila bottle propped in sand near his feet.  

I appreciated receiving such generous feedback for The Shore Girl. At one club we went around the room and each person gave the book a score of between 1 and 10. It was scary for me, but fun too. Perhaps the nicest compliment of all was when one woman said that when she only had one chapter to go, she didn’t know what to expect. She said she so wanted a good ending and she got one.  

Now it’s my turn to rank these book clubs. I give them a 10+ all the way!

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