Monday, March 15, 2010

"Doesn't Your Spouse Look Good Now?" Or, "Ethan Frome".

The Salem Book Club met Saturday evening to discuss the pint-sized classic, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome. The length was a major factor in the choosing, since our last classic choices have been Middlemarch (George Eliot) and David Copperfield (Charles Dickens), and both are what I call doorstoppers, at over 700 pages. Let's just say that the discussion of those two were somewhat limited by the number of members who actually finished them.

Five of us were present, thanks to weather and school activities taking away the others. Following are the major points of our discussion concerning the novel:

- Are there any sympathetic characters in this novel? Most of us thought that Mattie & Ethan were, but they also had their own responsibilities...
- And just who is to blame for the whole mess? Zeena suffered as well, so she can't be ENTIRELY at fault, as tempting as it is to load her with guilt.
- Ethan is just too passive. Instead of turning his back on his marriage to Zeena, why didn't they just get into a rousing argument?
- Some of Wharton's personal thoughts seem to be: "duty is suffering" and "marriage is bleak"
- G is quoted as saying, "dreams are worthless". To clarify: This was in regards to my summary of Wharton's OTHER novel, Age of Innocence. She meant, "Stop dreaming and take some action! Be a man!"
- infidelity can be emotional, and is probably more painful than a purely physical relationship (if there IS such a thing)
- Also, do NOT lose a locket around C. You've been warned.

Other points of discussion:
- HOW on earth to keep busy middle schoolers busy for the summer? Answer: drama camp!
- Quote from one disgruntled former drama camper: "All they do all day is SING and DANCE!"
- Extra cash for bus service is sooo worth it.
- Sew curtains NOW instead of four years later.
- Don't dare to look back at your younger days and be critical.
- People moving really stinks. For them, and for the rest of us who are still unresigned & crabby.

Future selections:
April - JV selection, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - book exchange at this meeting!
May - Christian selection, The Great Divorce by CS Lewis

We will need to choose books for the following genres: contemporary, historical fiction, and non-fiction. Bring your ideas to the next meeting!

Now go give your spouse a kiss.


Noel said...

No wonder Aaron has been getting such warm complements in the blog lately!

Coming back from Mandan with a stop in Jamestown for a great supper at the Buffalo City Grill, ,our Book Club Member felt obliged to summarize the movie version of Ethan Fromme before resuming her solitary listening to the audio version. Not exactly a book for teens and geeks. Pretty disfunctional.

On our drive out to Mandan, we had a book-on-tape from one of our favorite series: Hank the Cowdog. The one we listened to was "The Case of the Car-chasing-holic Dog".

nydampress said...

For historical fiction I suggest "The Help". It seems like everyone I talk to has read this book and I finally got my hands on a copy last week (after waiting 2 months (!!) for a copy to come off hold at the library). I gobbled up this book in just a few days.
So you probably already have it on your list, but just in case, add it. It is a fantastic fantastic book!

Lyz said...

Noel - actually, I didn't get the book read until Friday night! So you see, my affection is completely genuine.:)

Katers - Actually, The Help IS on our list! It's good to have another recommendation!

Noel said...

..."genuine affection". That sounds like a Jane Austen theme...