Scarlet book club: August 2014

Despite the demands of the holidays many people were able to make the August meeting where we discussed “The International Best Seller” Every Last One by Anna Quindlen.

Regrettably, everyone was in agreement that this was a book we would not recommend as time could be better spent reading something—almost anything—else! We found it a frustrating book, the author clearly has skill in writing and several of the characters were well developed, but we all wished that she could turn her attention to something more satisfying than this subject matter. This story of the “perfect American family”—many of whom are massacred by a family friend—did show some of the flaws under the superficial glaze of the “American Dream”, but we felt the book did not engage the reader. One member rightly described it as well-constructed tosh, i.e. like the sort of meaningless things we often see on television that have been carefully made but are, ultimately, unstimulating. The sort of things we all watch when we just want to switch off and relax. Some members detected the manipulation of their emotions that went on in the second half of the book, but all roundly criticised the over-sentimentalised, sugary ending, which we felt was not worthy of this author’s evident skills. No-one wanted to read another book by this author.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 25 September at 2pm in the Library at Scarlet when the book under discussion will be We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

New members are always welcome – if you wish to know more, please email Judith at: