Have you ever felt a twinge of jealousy when a friend accomplishes something that you’ve also been striving for? Or, have you ever desperately wanted to befriend the seemingly perfect, popular girl that captivates everyone’s attention? Welcome to I’m So Happy For You, a novel by Lucinda Rosenfeld.
My book club recently met up at Rocca in the South End to gorge ourselves on handmade pasta, roasted chicken and steak while tackling the touchy subject of gal pals and competition. Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the book, which is a bit dark at times. The plot follows the twists and turns of a complicated friendship with the issues of marriage, pregnancy and infidelity weaved in. It’s a vast departure from the books I usually seek out, but I’m happy that I tried something new.
Although I wouldn’t give this book a glowing recommendation to a friend as a solo read, I thought it was tailor made for our book club because it sparked an interesting conversation. We all admitted to embracing the little green monster inside on occasion, but not because we didn’t want our friends to succeed. In part, this can be attributed to having a more equal friendship than the characters do in the book. On some level, I always knew that, but reading this book made me realize that my best friendships are the ones that are mutually beneficial, where both parties make a similar effort to communicate.
For more information about I’m So Happy For You by Lucinda Rosenfeld, please visit her website at: http://www.imsohappyforyou.com/
A few friends and I have a book club. We don’t have an official name for it, but there are 8 fabulous ladies in the club (all late 20s), and we read a book every one to two months. Each person submits two to three book recommendations, then we take a vote via email, and the book “winner” gets to select a fun restaurant in Boston to gather at and discuss the book. Past restaurants have included 28 Degrees, City Table, Stephanie’s on Newbury, and more.
To be honest, once we’ve all gathered at the restuarant, we probably talk about the book for ten to fifteen minutes. Our book club is an excuse for a few friends to get together, drink on a weeknight, and catch up. We actually do read the books, even if we don’t discuss them for very long.
Since I’m being honest, I find it challenging each time I have to recommend a few good books to the group. Therefore, to help others in my situation, I’m going to give you a rundown of our book club hits and misses, according to majority vote.
- Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello – This book was incredibly cute, and a true story. It’s about one man’s adventures earning a living through the Hermès resale market on eBay. Based in glamorous locales around Europe, it’s a quick, easy read, that is filled with charm.
- Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – My friends warned me to be prepared to laugh out loud uncontrollably while reading this book. Let’s just say that I didn’t believe them until I repeatedly made a scene in every public place that I read Bitter is the New Black. Looking back on it, I wish someone was there filming other people’s reactions to my unexpectedly loud laughing outbursts. It was totally worth the occasional dirty look! I now want to read all of Jen Lancaster’s books. She also has a blog if you want to get a sense of her sarcastic, refreshingly honest, yet deliciously funny style of writing.
- Confessions of An Internet Don Juan by Cameron H. Chambers – I really wanted to like this book. This book feel under the, “Well the title sounds cool,” trap. While parts of it were entertaining, I finished the book happy that I am not a mail order bride, an internet con artist, or dating on the internet.
- All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown – This book was selected after Bringing Home the Birkin. While everyone enjoyed the “Birkin” (how could you not!?), they wanted to read something more “substantial” next. Unfortunately, for me, substantial in this case translated into depressing. If you enjoy characters going through an intense personal struggle (e.g. Mom’s on crack, daughter’s knocked up) until they hit rock bottom, then you will probably love this book.
- The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty – The girls gravitated toward this book because of its endorsement from Jodi Picoult, who they love. After reading this book, we discovered that while we like Jodi’s books, we don’t always share her taste in novels. All of the ladies unanimously decided that this book was a miss for us. We all found the plot to be lacking, and were also unhappy with the ending. I closed the book after chapter two, so I’m going to take their word for it! Sorry Laura!!