The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I want to write a nice review of this book, because I really did enjoy reading it. But the more I think about it, the worse it becomes. At the end of the day, I felt so frustrated reading this book with the abrupt switches between characters - I found myself just settling in and finally getting to know a character and suddenly I'd be scrambling to catch up with some other character. It was confusing at times, and incredibly frustrating. This chopping and changing has meant that many things seemed rushed, and others seem to drag on. There were a few things that seemed to be forgotten along the way and other things that were forsaken for more trivial pursuits. The story of Clare - did the author just not feel capable of dealing with her circumstances? Why did we dwell so much on Harriet instead when I just wanted to slap her and say wake up to yourself, you are being ridiculous! And it was this that has formed the basis of my review, rather than the things I liked about it. I just haven't been able to move past it.
Aside from that, and on a more positive note, the characters are diverse and well formed. While their issues may not have been resolved to my liking, Noble has left no detail of their personality untold. You do feel that, as a reader, you understand them. Well, you do eventually once you've gotten over the confusion of the switching.
I loved the book club element too. Its what drew me to the book in the first place, and I wish in some ways more space was devoted to it. I got a few good suggestions for my to-read list as well!