Yesterday I attended the first book club of my life. We had one month to read “The Arctic Fury” by Greer MacAllister.
Before I rant about the book, I’ll tell you about the book club. One of our neighbors hosted it in her courtyard. Eight women showed up, three I knew. We are mostly about the same age, all married, and transplants to Arizona — except for one beautiful woman from Moscow who was at least 10 to 15 years younger. One woman grew up in Guyana of Jim Jones fame. She moved to Arizona after living for years in New Jersey. Others were from Oregon, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Boston.
One woman, who took on the role of group leader, asked us for our opinion of the book. Then she asked us more detailed questions like if we felt the protagonist was a failure, what we thought of her leadership, etc. It was an interesting conversation and nice to get out and meet people.
Now about the book itself.
I didn’t like it in the beginning. It was slow and there were 13 women. I found it hard to keep track of characters. Also, they weren’t that well developed. The book jumped between the Arctic rescue and the protagonist’s murder trial in 1850s in Boston for the death of one of the women. Going back and forth wouldn’t have been a problem except it went from the trial to a narrative by a different woman each chapter. It was confusing and I couldn’t remember who was who.
The last third of the book, I was finally into it. It was a quicker pace. I don’t think I would have read the entire book without bookclub.
This was supposed to be historical fiction from the 1850s — based on a true story. It was startling to read about transgenders, lesbians, race and all the buzz words from today. The author even threw in something about chlamydia. That stopped me and I googled it and read it was first discovered in the 1960s. Not quite the right time frame for the 1850s. It was meant to be an empowering woman’s story, but I found all the issues the author mixed in didn’t add to the story, but detracted from it.
What books have you read for book club? Do you have any suggestions for me when it’s my turn to select the book?