Monday, March 14, 2011

Steely Spines: Books and the Ladies Who Read Them

My book club is an interesting group of friends who share an interest in reading...and in each other. It occurred to me the other day as I was thinking about how critically we review EVERY book we read that there must be a reason for our high standards. It couldn't be that we are just that snarky. Could it?

Then I took a hard look at the lives of the women and had a realization. Duh! Of course we sigh with disdain over the foibles of even the most intriguing hero in the most well reviewed books on the shelf. Our collective group has already lived a fairly rousing bit of drama in reality. The fictional characters that challenge many reader's sensibilities appear trivial to us. Almost as if they were paper dolls, easily whisked away by the draft of a swiftly opened door.

My girls have guts. We have glamour. We've lived the pants right off a lot of the more traditional book club plot lines. No wonder we're bored by convention!

How can I paint a picture that measures the infinite depth of the varied emotions we've felt, shared, celebrated, and sobbed over? Maybe some numbers regarding our 12 ladies...

Widowed -- 1
Divorced -- 3
Currently Married -- 8
Currently Involved with Long-term Partner -- 4
Children -- 31 (includes stepchildren)
Stillborn Children -- 5
Miscarriages -- Countless
Grandchildren -- 5
Currently Caring for Ill Parent(s) -- 1
Deceased Parent(s) -- 3
Provided Hospice Care for Parent(s) -- 2
Removed Loved One from Life Support -- 2
Survivor of Major Health Scare -- 3
Managing Chronic Illness -- 5
Career Transformations -- 9
Sibling Death in Violent Manner -- 3
Natural Hair Color -- 0 (it just depends on the day, people, don't judge!)
Tatooed -- 7

Good grief! Add in all the semantics of life that can't be quantified, all the time on the therapist's couches; the fertility crises; the faith challenges; the embrace of renewed faith; the broken hearts; the heart's desires realized; the moments spent wallowing near the edge of despair; the giggles that transform into guffaws of joy, and so much more. There we are. No wonder we roll our collective eyes so often at the dramatic reveal, chapter by chapter, that just doesn't seem to live up to our experiences.

As in every pursuit these ladies have endeavored, we'll keep on trying. After all, the failures are what makes the successes so insanely print and in life. Read on, ladies, read on!