Yesterday I went to a book club meeting where we reviewed a contemporary fiction novel and I was fascinated by the response of the readers. As a writer, these groups are a great way to find out what works in writing and what doesn’t.
This particular novel was set in the 1950’s and some of the members of the club could clearly remember life during that era. Sadly some of the historical facts and social context of the novel did not match their recollections. Small details such as character names were unrealistic for that time period.
The story line of the novel was very depressing. A complaint of the book club was that there was no ebb and flow of emotion in the story and this meant that the more positive ending was deemed unbelievable.
The working background of some of the characters did not match their economic standing; for example, the type of house owned in a very exclusive area by someone who was working middle class in that time period.
There were many more comments which I have put into my writer’s file to remind myself of what I must try to avoid when producing work to publish.
I belong to two book clubs. One group is totally women and centres around tea and cake but we do have excellent discussions. The other group is mixed sex and age and less structured however with a dynamic interaction which, with a few too many members, can become a shouting match to be heard.
Are you a member of a book club? Is it organised in a structured manner or is it like my free-for-all group? I would love to hear about your experiences and any interesting books which you have discussed.