21 June 2012

My Hundred Lovers Read-Along Finishes

The Allen & Unwin read-along began on 1 June 2012 and  each Friday a bookish discussion has been going on over at 1 Girl, 2 Many Books who has been doing a fabulous job of hosting the read-along.  Thanks Bree!

It all ends tomorrow and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the different comments and responses from the range of other book bloggers. So much so that it has changed the way in which I read this book; slowing down from my usual pace and paying more attention to the content knowing that we would have the chance to discuss it online together in a book club type of environment.

Here are my comments from Week 1 and 2 of the read-along.

Week 1

Hello all, many of you have commented on the segments of My Hundred Lovers I have enjoyed, so instead of repeating them here, I’ll share what I found surprising or confronting that hasn’t been raised yet.

The first is the girl’s relationship with Nina Payne. (I love the author’s use of ‘the girl’ too by the way). On pages 20-22 she has Nina walking around in a skirt without any underwear and then makes her sit on the ground with her legs apart says: “the girl would have stuck her finger in except that her friend stood up and ran away.” Am I the only one that found this a little confronting?

Even though I didn’t do it myself, I know girls practice kissing with each other, but I found the girl’s sexual curiosity went further than most and I want to know why. Perhaps this will be revealed later in the novel.

I was also shocked at the mother’s cruelty on page 18 when she says to her naked daughter in the bathroom: “I don’t remember my inner lips being so exposed when I was a girl.” I mean, way to give a young girl permanent body issues, and what loving mother would be comparing their daughter’s body to their own anyway?

How did other readers respond to these two sections? Were there raising of eyebrows, quickening of pulses or did you all take it in your stride?

Week 2

I’ve been looking forward to our discussion this week, because often I don’t have the chance to discuss the books I’m reading with others on such a detailed level, and when I read Chapter Thirty-Eight, I was confused and desperately wanted to discuss it with you all.

I understand her husband wanted to make love to Debbie although she had fallen out of love with him; that is straight forward and I’m sure many of us have been at one or both ends of unrequited love. However, is she using the slam of the coffin as an analogy for the death of the love she had for her husband or something more? Does she feel dead inside?

Debbie’s reluctance to tell us about her husband and the circumstances surrounding their relationship tells me there is something quite significant there. She is protective of this relationship in particular and open about other passing liaisons. We’re now 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m hoping she will open up to us soon. I can certainly feel the tension building, can you?

So, with that said, I'll be posting my review of Susan Johnson's My Hundred Lovers separately, as the read-along draws to a close.  But it's been a lot of fun, and thanks go to Allen & Unwin and to Bree at 1 Girl, 2 Many Books.

That's my four bucks!

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