One of the book clubs I’m in is the monthly Barnes & Noble one. It’s a nationwide thing, so if there’s a store near you, there should be an event. I really like it, because it exposes me to authors and books that I wouldn’t typically read. Generally speaking, that’s what I like about book clubs, but often homebrew book clubs fall into niches with certain genres and such. (Which is fine, but that’s why this is also fun)
The book we discussed this month was The Last Romantics. The book follows the story of four siblings over most of their lives. While it lightly touches on other events, the story primarily revolves around two unexpected deaths, and how the siblings fall apart, pull together, and how their lives are affected moving forward.
The story is told from the perspective of the youngest sister, Fiona, who will later grow up to become a well-known poet. She’s essentially telling her family’s story for an audience. Personally, I love family stories. I love seeing how people are shaped by events, how their relationships change, and how the author drops little teasers such as “the pause”. That alone kept me turning pages, because I wanted to see what “the pause” was, and whom it affected!
Some of the criticisms of the book were that there were too many loose ends, and that there were more stories that should’ve been told. I understand, but I think the book primarily revolves around two main events, and while there are details that help fill in around those two events, this is why the book is the way it is. To understand “the accident”, you have to understand “the pause” because the pause sets up this path. The book then follows the aftermath of the accident in bits and pieces, but everything really ties back to those two things. Personally, I think the fact that we get any sort of “this is what happens to the characters later” is a nice little bone. The more I think about it, it’s not all that different from the ending of Titanic - we finish up the primary event of Rose’s life, and then we’re given glimpses of what happened for her moving forward.
Not everyone loved the book, and it is a different read, but I really enjoyed it. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll end up re-reading it, but I’m going to keep it, at least for a while, because I would like to. Given how many books I plow through (though not as many as I’d like lately!), that’s saying something.