Last week we discussed Who Will Run The Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore, a coming of age story about sisterhood and friendship. The book was witty and kind of depressing, but almost all of us enjoyed it and some even really liked it! So what if you are looking for another depressive read about losing your childhood? Well, we have some recommendations! And as always you will find some discussion questions for your own book club at the end.
Self-Help is Lorrie Moore’s first book, a collection of nine short stories, about loss and life. These stories have the same sharp wit as Who Will Run The Frog Hospital and just like that novella, some of her lines will strike at you and hit you right in the feels. Definitely a good start if you want to read more by Moore.
Moore has talked about her admiration for Alice Munro, which makes us look twice at this Nobel Prize winning author. Lives of Girls and Women is the only novel she has written, as she is more of a short story writer like Moore, but it’s themes fit those of our book club pick so well. It is an autobiographical book in form, but not in fact (whatever that means) about a young girl growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940’s. Munro’s writing is strong and her observations of life and womanhood can rival those of Moore.
I’ve already talked at length about To The Lighthouse as it is an amazing book, but what reminded me of this classic novel in Lorrie Moore’s work, were the deaths. Moore mentions how people die with a simple flick of her wrist and in this novel Woolf does something similar, but then much worse. Part 2 of the novel is pretty famous and I remember reading it with my mouth open, just feeling all the feels.
If you have any other recommendations, let us know!
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Is this is a story of friendship or more specifically of sisterhood? Is the relationship between Sils and Berie specifically something women go through or is it also recognizable for men?
– Berie gets called a ‘lesbo’ by Mike. Do you think her and Sils’ relationship is sexual?
– Berie is in her 40’s while she’s telling this story and her feelings about her childhood, at least partly, stem from soon reaching middle age. As a younger reader, do these feelings sound familiar as well?
– It’s a rather short novel that had the intention of being a much larger work. How does the length of the novel impact the book?