Seaside Book Club –
by Deborah Rogers –
It was another large group for our April meeting to discuss Kevin Wilson’s Perfect Little World. Wilson presented us with a neatly wrapped-up tale of a social experiment. At the start of the novel we meet Izzy, soon to become a teenage single mom, and we meet Dr. Preston Grind, a psychologist about to meet a wealthy benefactor. With her funds, and vision to guide him, Dr. Grind begins a 10-year project called the Infinite Family, with Izzy and her baby one of the 10 families involved.
The project was rather utopian in its aims, and some of our readers felt fairly certain that it was doomed to failure. I noticed a bit of a spilt in the room between those who I suspect had wanted it all to work out for the subjects, and those who suspected fracture right from the outset. Whatever their expectations, everyone was invested enough in the outcome to read to the end. It’s a quick and funny read with some truly quirky characters as well as likeable main characters that it was easy to get behind and wish only the best for.
We discussed Wilson’s ability to write the female characters in a believable way, and in fact to make a far-fetched hypothetical story seem very real too. Of course family was the big theme. Is there any such thing as a “perfect” family? Is it possible to escape from your own upbringing? Is all parenting merely reactive to the way you yourself were brought up? Inevitably there was a lot to say about this subject, and it was interesting to hear the wide range of perspectives from our members.
In the end, opinion seemed to be that the book was a little too neatly wrapped up. We could only suspend our credulity for so long and the final third of the novel seemed to rush to its conclusion, giving everyone their just desserts. On a completely irrelevant side note, I was especially taken with Wilson’s description of food and food preparation throughout the book; Izzy’s character came alive when she was immersed in cooking, and I felt that I was with her in the kitchen, or by the side of the barbecue pit!
For our May meeting we’ll be reading a mystery – a first for our group – Earthly Remains by Donna Leon. We will be at the Sidney library in the Nell Horth room for great discussion, and coffee and treats from Quince Café: May 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Visit www.seasidemagazine.ca/book-club for more information and to sign up!
Book Club Q & A
Q How do you choose the books?
A The book selection is a little down to luck – each month the Sidney/North Saanich Library tries to get hold of a book club set for us to use. Availability is based on demand. So far we have had a choice between several titles each month, and have voted which one to use. Generally this will mean that people can leave the meeting with a copy of next month’s read. Book Club members can suggest titles they would be interested in reading from the VIRL book club sets list:
Q How do you structure the meeting?
A Members bring questions or discussion points with them, written down. These are put in a “hat” and drawn from to keep the discussion going. It leads to diverse questions and no need for anyone to feel self-conscious. The meeting is facilitated by Seaside Magazine’s Deborah and Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Virginia.
Q How do I stay up to date with Book Club happenings?
A Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get meeting reminders by email. And follow us on Facebook to see everything that’s happening at Seaside Magazine!