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The Book Club

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  2,153 ratings  ·  255 reviews
With the help of one another and the books they read, the women of the book club move beyond their midlife crises to accept the challenges of change: the death of a husband, the pain of a child, and the loss of youth.
396 pages
Published 2003 by Mira (first published 1999)
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3.5 stars.

I really like Monroe's writing style as I find it easy to breeze along and her character's relatable. I did not think this was one of her best, but still a feel good read. Five women have been in a social book club for many years. I would not say they all are good friends, but over the years the friendships seem to slip back and forth. This is what I enjoyed. These women reminded me of friendships I have had with different women....sometimes they are the best of friends, sometimes you...more
MsSmartiePants the candy...
I selected this book for my 'night' reading, aka reading before I go to sleep. I like to read light, funny and interesting books at this time, not thrillers or political subjects. Unfortunately, I often fall asleep during this time and it takes a while to finish a particular book!

In reading this book, I couldn't wait to get back to it and fought the Sand Man!

The story opens with descriptions of five women, each with varying issues confronting (or soon would be)them. I felt that the description...more
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The book encompasses the 5 separate lives of women who are best friends and in some cases, best frenemies as they meet for book club monthly. I found some of the characters in this book extremely annoying to the point that every time they came up in the story, I found myself rolling my eyes and heaving a heavy sigh. A few of the characters deliberately made their life dramatic, and as such, the book itself and its writing was dramatic too. One character in particular was very "tied up in a nice...more
Had to grab a book in the airport as I'd forgotten mine!

Like Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons and The Jane Austen Book Club, I really liked the female relationships in this book. Of course, revolving around books just made it more fun :)

There were a surprising number of errors in this copy and I'd log them on, but I handed this to a flight attendant when I finished it.

Also to note: there's a Tattered Cover store in Concourse B of the Denver International Airport. No need to buy books...more
Every summer I read really crappy books. It's like eating a bag of chips. You don't want to do it often, but on occasion, it tastes really good. Usually after a book of two, I'm satisfied and ready to go back to all those "important" books. Read too many, and it's like eating the entire bag. You feel sick and bloated afterwards and willing to swear them off forever (and by forever, I mean until the next summer).

This was surprisingly not terrible. I can't really say much more than that. It's no T...more
For Eve, Gabriella, Doris, Midge and Annie their monthly book club meetings are more than a book discussion, but a bonding of friendship and loyalty. They shared watching their families grow, heartaches they've experienced and now share the changes occurring as they reach middle age. Eve has lost her husband suddenly to a heart attack, and must find a way to care for her teenage children and find a job to support her family. Gabriella's husband has lot his job and she is working more and more ho...more
Awesome book! These middle aged moms are all in new phases of their lives. Everyone can relate to at least one woman and what she is going through - relationships, empty nesters, death, illness, infidelity, job loss but the thread that runs through this story is finding yourself again as a woman. It made me think. I really enjoyed this book and will be looking at some of her other books.
I've read a couple other books by this author and with a title like this one has I figured it would be really fantastic. I believe my preferences at this time just lie down a different road than this author's. The members of the book club and their lives were just a little unbelievable for me.
Ket Lamb
The Book Club is a breezy story about five middle-aged Chicago women who confront the changes in their health, relationships, and dreams while they occasionally discuss novels. Eve Porter must deal with her handsome husband's sudden death. Ambitious Annie is faced with huge obstacles when she finally tries to start a family. Doormat Doris is the perfect wife, but that doesn't mean she has perfect life. Bohemian Midge has carved out a peaceful creative existence until her mother threatens to jeop...more
It is a pretty good read about 4 friends who are in a book club together who try to solve each others problems. Definitely check it out.

It was the title that attracted me to this book and I thought the quote from a different book at the beginning of each chapter was a clever idea for each one’s theme. Unfortunately though I did not find the story at all enjoyable in fact it was just plain boring.
I really dislike writing a bad review as I know it is far from easy to write a novel and criticising one is something that I feel uncomfortable about.
The cover stated that it is ‘A remarkable novel...more
This book surrounds the lives of five friends who live in the Chicago area and have a monthly book club. The novel opens with the death of Eve's husband and the turmoil this throws into her life. Her friends attempt to rally around her and her children, but have their own strife. Annie is struggling to have a baby, Gabriella is working extra shifts to support her family after her husband loses his job, Midge, an artist is dealing with her mother moving back to Chicago and in with her, and Doris...more
A group of women who form a book club and all of their adventures as their lives all fall apart and then try to put them back together. There were some very nice parts to this book and good, sound life lessons. Very predictable and very ho-hum, I guess for me. As someone who has had (well, still ongoing) one bout of being rocked to my core by life (my middle child being diagnosed with autism) I could empathize with the women dealing with their life-altering situations. They chose to move forward...more
I judged this book by its cover, literally. I am leery of any book that tells me on the cover how great it is ("The Book Club: A remarkable novel of the power of friendships"). Remarkable? Hm. Let me be the judge of that. While I wouldn't go so far as to say this is a "remarkable" story, it was enjoyable. An easy, breezy read to wrap up the summer with. The plot includes everything and the kitchen sink- cancer diagnosis, adultery, empty-nest syndrome, sexual identity questions, mommy issues, agi...more
Dale Harcombe
One and a half stars
Let me say at the outset that I have read several books by this author and enjoyed them, so I was prepared to like this book despite some negative reviews. It started off okay for a light read I thought but disintegrated as it went along. I thought the premise of the book club wand the use of books would be interesting but in the end for me it didn't work and the 5 women in this book club I found annoying and unrealistic. I'm not really sure why I continued to read it, excep...more
Jen Urness
This book was not one of the greatest books that I have ever read, but it was very good with a very strong message, one I can relate to. It makes one realize what an important role friends play in one's life. It also makes one think how important it is to make your life your own, be yourself, live your life, have dreams, and make those dreams come true. All it takes is one event, someone else's action, to turn one's life upside down, inside out. "I choose to live. Each day to the hilt. I want to...more
Denise Westlake
Friendships were easy when life was going smoothly.. what was hard was to be there for your friend when life got rough and the friendship wasn't neither easy nor fun."
Actual Rating: ***1/2

Another women's book club story that had all of the usual heartaches and life complications; however, Monroe's writing made working through the tangle of story lines well worth the reading time.

Opening Lines:
Eve of Return
January 7, 1998
Tonight, I will return to my Book Club.

On books and memories...
We can all laugh now when a book makes reference to the Baltimore catechism or flocks of nuns shrouded in starched wimples and jangling rosaries. We relish books that bring...more
The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe follows the lives of five very different women that have found solace and friendship within a monthly book club. It was the first selection of the book club I started in January 2104, and it was a great read.

Each character: Eve, Doris, Annie, Gabbie, and Midge, are each faced with major events in their lives that completely shatter the comfort of how things "are supposed to be." And as it is with all groups of women, there is plenty of dissension in the group -...more
Five women in the Chicago suburbs meet monthly to discuss books, as well as their trials and tribulations, struggling with motherhood, the loss of a loved one, career trouble, and illness. Their friendship sustains them and the books they read feed their souls.
I did not expect to get so wrapped up in the lives of these women, whom I initially considered bored and wealthy bourgeoisie, without problems I found relatable, but I did end up caring, and rooting for each of them. Even though I still th...more
Marie Gentilcore
This was a disappointment. I'm rounding my rating up to 3 stars (but it was more like 2.75. The Book Club is the story of 5 women in a book club and I like stories about relationships as well as stories about book clubs but this book just didn't move me. Most of the story was "just okay" but there was one part about 75% in that I really enjoyed as it was full of emotion and drama but after that brief section it went back to being "just okay" again.
I rarely rate anything this low, but the ways in which it is poorly written are almost too numerous to mention. I think perhaps she wrote with the idea of "leave no cliche unused," among other things. It's a fast read, at least, and it does bring out nearly every issue concerning women and marriages that one could think of--in case one hadn't thought of them before.
I am embarrassed to admit I read this book. I had to skip so much- but unfortunately I was hooked with the prelude. The overall story of friendship was nice, but that's where it ends. So don't waste your time, there are so many wonderful stories out there about friendship and adversity weathered, my advice look else where for such.
I agree with other reviewers that the author spent too much time on Annie and Eve. I found both to be quite annoying. I couldn't even sympathize with Annie in the end with the stuff she was going through. I thought I would really dislike Doris, too, but I actually did want the best outcome for her. I did not like where the author went with her in the end though. I really wish the author spent more time on Midge and Gabriella. There was much more of a story in their relationships than the author...more
Another great read by Mary Alice Monroe - who I spent a good bit of time getting to know this summer thru her novels and her Facebook page!

I enjoyed this story of friendship -- five women who meet for their Book Club, but share so much more. I was glad that they were not all the best of friends and had ups and downs in their relationships. Their support for each other is supportive, without being all consuming.

Five different personalities and at different stages of life kept the characters and...more
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This chick-lit novel, selected by my book group as a light summertime read, was exactly that, but it was a surprisingly decent choice. It was well written, there was substance to the plot, and I felt drawn into the different problems and lives of the five main characters. Who can ask for more from a beach book? The friend who suggested it thinks it will be fun to try and identify some of the book's characters within our own group, and I think she's right (luckily, there are no villains, just nic...more
The is my favorite Mary Alice Monroe book. Explores friendships with books. What more could one ask for!
Despite her dream of being a teacher, I had a hard time relating to the helpless main character with her princess problems. The couple characters I liked, Midge, Doris, and kind of Annie, didn't have very much of the print. Annie's overly drawn out struggle was detailed ad nauseum. The main character misrepresents her marriage the whole time and is very image conscious and stuck in denial. The ladies in my book club thought the book was so-so to good, so I will try to find where I fell asleep on...more
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New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that was quickly changing gave her a strong and important focus for her books.

Mary Alice Monroe writes richly textur...more
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“Age is real life is short. It's foolhardy to deny it. We grow up, our bodies grow frail, death is coming. There's so much I want to do!
There's a whole world out there I havent seen, ppl I havent met and who havent know me.
God, there 're a million books I want to read.
I dont want to sleep... I want to be awake.
This is my life - I want to live it”
“All stories come to an end. That moment when we sigh and close the book, perhaps sit back in our chair and rest our palm over the cover, is met with quixotic emotions. On the one hand, we’re satisfied if the author successfully tied up loose ends, turned a memorable phrase and rewarded the hero’s moral choice with his heart’s desire. Yet we’re also saddened that the adventure is over. Sometimes when we see that we only have a few pages left we slow down, savoring each word, staving off the” 1 likes
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