Saturday, June 03, 2006

Notes from Maidu Book Club
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

Thirteen women met today to discuss this book. All thought the book disturbing. Most were horrified by Ben, the child of the title. What does the book symbolize? Is it society in the 1980s or is it simply as the author suggests an exploration of the question: What would you do if you had a monstrous child? In a nutshell, Harriet and David marry, plan on having lots of children, in keeping with their traditional values. Surrounded by loving family, but living beyond their means, all appears idyllic. With her fifth pregnancy, Harriet is wracked with pain and dread and the baby is not normal. Is Ben a genetic throwback, a symbol of urban unrest and upheaval or something else entirely? Is family life washed up? Are urban gangs a scourge or a place for outcasts to belong? I won't ruin it for a potential reader. Definitely a different, interesting book.
This was the most emotional discussion we have had as a group. I think the more demanding books bring out the best discussion, especially if the book makes you uncomfortable or if you hate it. That passionate feeling is expressed and others are drawn in. If you would like to make a comment about the discussion we had or about The Fifth Child, please click on the comments button below. You do not need a blogspot account, you may comment anonymously.

If you are part of a book club, the Roseville Library has book club kits you can borrow. These kits include ten copies of the book, discussion questions and author information. Each kit checks out for six weeks. Click on the link Roseville Library and search for the subject "book club kit".

No comments: