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REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Book club revealed
JACKSON HOLE, WYO - Mary Grossman, JH Weekly publisher, told me I need to “engage the world with a broader perspective” than past columns have indicated. To help prime the pump, she took the liberty of signing me up for a book club.
I had heard of book clubs and was excited by the opportunity to attend. Rumor had it that women go to book clubs to discuss novels they’ve read and ask questions like, “Did you feel the book fulfilled your expectations? Were you disappointed? What did you think the book was about? How did the book compare to other books by the author (or other books in the same genre)? Did you enjoy the book? Why? Why not? What about the plot?”
Are you kidding me? While women are predisposed to illogical behavior and irrational thought processes, do they actually think men are so lame as to believe that talking about books is what goes on at book clubs? I mean, c’mon, what really happens at books clubs? I had my suspicions and they involved the pursuit of hedonistic sensual pleasure in the Babylonian style. Count me in, Mary.
The book club was held in the living room of a local intellectual, and as the participants arrived I became more excited. Eight women total, all clearly bored, lonely and looking to spice up their life.
“Today we are discussing Barbara Kingsolver’s novel ‘Animal Dreams,’ and I took the questions off Kingsolver’s website,” the group leader said. I chuckled. Yeah, right.
“Why are Hallie and Codi different? What happened that caused them to take such different life paths? How and why does Codi change? Why does she become more engaged with the world?”
A pensive mood settled in. “Clyde would you like to lead off?”
“Sure,” I said, wondering when the pretending would end, and we could get down to business. I hadn’t read the book of course, but it was an easy question. “Hallie and Codi are only different on the outside,” I said. “On the inside they seek the same things we all seek.” Duh, all women want the same thing; they’re simple creatures really.
“Very insightful Clyde,” said the group leader, clearly impressed. The other women nodded their heads in sync, their interest in me increasing.
“One theme of the novel is the relationship between humans and the natural world,” she continued. “What does the novel have to say about the difference between Native American and Anglo American culture in relation to nature? How do creation stories, such as the Pueblo creation legend and the Garden of Eden story, continue to influence culture and behaviour?”
One of the women stammered trying to answer the question. I came to her rescue and said, “While Pueblo creation legends and the Garden of Eden story influence society, we tend to forget that in ancient creation legends everyone was naked. I think clothing is preventing us from grasping the book’s deeper connection to the natural world. It’s a tragedy really.”
It was, after all, time to get with the program. There was a brief moment of hesitation before we all agreed. Things progressed smoothly from there. The only reference to literature the rest of the evening was a comment on the “Kama Sutra.”