Happy Sunday, Ladies! I'm sitting here with a blanket on my lapp and a cup of tea by my side and I'm wondering about time. Remember how when we were children each day stretched on into eternity? It seemed like it took an entire lifetime just to get to the next Christmas. But here I am, thirty-something-years later and a week passes in the blink of an eye. I'm not sure if it's age, or children, or time itself that puts the clock on fast forward, but still it's alarming sometimes.
And this seems to be true of the characters in THE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB as well:
Isabel, married ten years, gets a note one day telling her that her husband is having an affair with Carolyn Chenowith. June, with a seven year old son who wants to know who his father is. Kat, in love with Oliver her entire life and she doesn't even know it. And Lolly, poor Lolly, with pancreatic cancer.
Time. It takes its toll on everyone.
1. So why, after a lifetime of knowing and loving Oliver, do you think Kat is so ambivalent about marrying him? Granted it's a novel, and he's written to be kind and romantic, and "perfect" but he does seem like just the sort of man women dream about. Is it because Kat has always lived in that town and always known him? Are we bored by the things we know? Or could it be that he's so familiar and comforting that it's scary? My guess: the first man Kat ever loved (her father) was ripped away from her and I think she doesn't know how to surrender her heart. What do you think?
2. As I read the scene where Isabel and Kat go with Lolly to the hospital I couldn't help but remember being in the same situation with my father. Terminal cancer. Oncologists. That hospital smell–I don't know how to describe it really–of suffering covered up by bleach. There is no feeling worse that watching someone you love fight a battle they can't win. My father died the day after Thanksgiving. I was twenty-five years old. And I wonder how I would feel if someone told me that my father had written journals the year he had died. What would I do if he'd talked about me in them–in honesty, about all of our ups and downs? Whould I be afraid to read them? Would I be embarassed about some of my failings as a daughter? What about you? Is there someone you have lost? How would you feel to read their thoughts about you? It's a bit of a sobering thought, isn't it?
3. I love how June always dreamed of a big, flashy life in New York City, working in the publishing industry. But her surprise pregnancy with Charlie changed all that. And I have to laugh a little at that (no offense, June). The running joke in our house is, "'Let's have a baby' instead of saying, 'Oh my gosh, we're having a baby!" We had four, giant, wonderful surprises. All boys. All charming. Every single one a life changer. And that's something Kat and Isable can't relate to. How do you think having a child (whether planned or not) changes the life of a woman in general and June in particular? Especially when that woman is known for being the "good girl?"
4. Kat has lived at the Inn all her life. So much of who she is and what she does is intertwined in the family business. Between her uncertainty in marrying Oliver and in starting her own business it's clear that Kat has NO idea who she is or what she wants. How do you think her childhood, and her adult life in the Inn have contributed to that? Do people who go out and explore the world and pile up experiences away from home have a greater sense of self? Or is that just an assumption? What do you think is at the root of her ambivalence?
5. Isabel is attracted to Griffin right away. One could say she was attraced to him too soon, days after learning of her husband's affair. I don't think this is uncommon, but I do think it's interesting, the way human beings look for a way dull the pain. And I have to admit that I was glad that Isabel pulled away when Griffin kissed her. It's too soon–especially after that kind of heartbreak. But I'm curious to know, at this point in the novel, what you think Isabel needs? I think she needs to grieve. Not just for an afternoon or an evening. But a good long time. To let herself go through all the healthy, normal stages of grief, unimpeded by another man. But that's just me. I don't think you can rip open a bond like marriage and then fix it with a crush. What do you think? How should Isabel handle the reality of her crumbling marriage?
I can't wait to hear your thoughts! So much to discuss in this novel! And a last thought: I love how Mia March chose movies that paralleled the issues each character was facing. I think it adds a wonderful depth to the story.