Why pick berries in the hot afternoon sun? Because the bugs leave you alone midday. I was scratched and
Then I showered and changed into a sundress and tried to phone Mr. D because I had generously volunteered to drive a fellow Bumble to book club. He was tied up at work and I now looked like a Grade-A jackass because the Momvan's air conditioner is defunct (as are the lock on the driver's side back door and half the lights on the dashboard ... ). Windows down, our hair blowing in the humid breeze, my fellow Bumble was a good sport, insisting the whole experience brought her back to her high school days when kids would cruise around town in the same fashion.
We were delighted to discover our fellow Bumbles opted for indoor seating at a popular riverside restaurant. Air conditioned dining with cold drinks (mojitos and beer, yo!)--we enjoyed the height of electric-powered luxury around our table.
The subject of this month's meeting was J K Rowling's A Casual Vacancy, a book panned by many over at GoodReads because "it's not Harry Potter." Well, duh. But let me tell you, she's got chops as a writer and I liked it. Sure, it was a little tough to keep the huge cast of characters straight in the beginning, but I admired the tightly-wound plotting, the conflicts and the character development. It's hard to create despicable characters, and for the most part, she did. We discussed who found redemption and cheerfully disagreed on which characters did not, per our respective views. (Char, Fats is still a schmuck. He's just sorry he got caught out, but he didn't really change!)
I am blessed to be a member of this book club. They're all avid readers and close readers--each one of us can pick apart a book and analyze what worked and didn't. Each one of us brought a fresh perspective to the discussion. Each of us suggested a page or phrase that we urged our fellow Bumbles to reference. A Casual Vacancy explores how actions beget consequences, social issues and secrets. There's no vile habit left uncovered by Rowling's huge cast of characters, but there are shining moments of glory that balance the darkness. (Go, Dr. Jawanda! Way to tell off Howard!) Plus, this book made us think about assumptions we make about other people and prodded us to become a bit more compassionate.
You can't have perfection 100% of the time, right? But you can have fellow Bumbles who laugh and don't mind a bit about the bugs, and hey--it was cooler so we didn't need air conditioning for the drive home anyway.