When I was asked to join a book club several years ago, I initially rejected the idea thinking that no one was going to dictate what I read. I had my favorites—John Grisham, Steve Martini, Patricia Cornwell, and Janet Evanovich—which kept me a happy reader for years. The years of assigned reading were long behind me. I savored the freedom of choosing the books to read. Don’t tell me what to read!
It was finally the social aspect of becoming a member of a book club that convinced me to accept, and I have never been disappointed. I was exposed to a world of books that I would never have considered, so being “forced” to read a new author every month has been good.
However, when my book was chosen as our October book club selection, I thought back to my negative feelings about obligatory reading assignments and balked at the idea of forcing my book on my friends. If they hated it, I knew they were too polite to tell me. Would they talk among themselves and perhaps have a secret meeting to discuss how to let me down gently, or would they just feel sorry for me?
So I told them to make another selection. It was just too awkward. I just could not do it! The response by one member of the group was that if we could not read my book she was quitting, so I reluctantly agreed. I could do it. I was tough! I had been through childbirth three times.
The meeting was last week, and I must admit, it was not as painful as I had imagined. As I expected, I got no negative feedback, but the positive comments which were offered were about choices I had purposely made in my writing.
As one example, while I tried to paint a picture of a scene accurately, I purposely avoided rambling on and on for pages just to set a scene. While I enjoy the use of beautiful words to describe a person or a setting, I often get impatient when it takes too long to get to the point. I often skip ahead when encountering rambling descriptions of what I perceive to be unnecessary wordiness.
So when I was describing the scene when my father’s hopes of becoming a doctor ended—the very first paragraph of my book—I tried to be descriptive but concise.
Marty’s dreams of becoming a doctor were shattered by the sound of a loud knock on the classroom door. No one spoke. Each student was fearful of being snatched from the classroom by the uniformed officer of the secret police who interrupted the lesson. One minute Marty was peering through the eye of his microscope in biology class, and the next, he was pulled from class and issued an ultimatum: renounce your American citizenship and become a Soviet citizen or leave school.
I did not see the need for further words to describe the feelings of anxiety when that secret policeman burst into that classroom, so I was happy when the subject of my lack of wordiness was broached in our book-club discussion without me asking the question.
They told me how sad they were when… Oops! I can’t elaborate, because to do so will be a spoiler for potential readers out there in the blogosphere.
Having survived the book club review, I will say that it was actually pleasant. I highly recommend it. You will be glad you did.
If you want to try Do Svidanya Dad for your book club, it’s okay with me. Then tell me what you think. I can take it.