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Supper Club

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,008 ratings  ·  308 reviews
A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites--and their physical spaces--that posits the question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?

Roberta spends her life trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. Stuck
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Hamish Hamilton (first published July 4th 2019)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,008 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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(4.5) There's something in the water in 2019. It's been a bumper year for books by and about young women, books that talk about contemporary life in smart, fresh, subversive ways while remaining relatable. These books embrace feminism without taking the tedious dystopia route. They explore 'coming of age' without telling the types of stories that have been written a million times. They're all very different, but I feel inclined to group them together: Bunny, The New Me, Everything You Ever ...more
Gumble's Yard
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, 2019-ntb
Winner of the 2019 Guardian Not The Booker prize.

I had previously read the author’s short story collection “Treats” due to its shortlisting for the inaugural
Republic of Consciousness prize. That book began (appropriately) with the excellent “It begins” – which over 5 pages effortlessly sketched out a few years of the post graduate life of a young girl (moving back home, unable to get a paid job in arts and settling on an office job, falling in love, breakdown of marriage, post-divorce dating).
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
When describing what Supper Club is about - women seeking to have a positive relationship with food and their bodies, female friendships, women who want to take up space and reclaim their bodies, bodies which men have often taken advantage of - it sounds right up my street. I've seen comparisons made to Fleabag: The Original Play, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Animals and The New Me, other recent novels with (the very of the moment) "unlikeable female protagonist(s)". Of these I'd say Supper ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This book is structured around the premise that bucking beauty standards by pigging out and getting fat is revolutionary and a feministprotest -- except EVERYONE is overweight now. According to the WHO, in 2014 (five years ago at this point), 62% of adults in the UK (where this book is set) were overweight or obese. That statistic has only gone up. It's like getting a tattoo to be rebellious, except everyone is tattooed now. NOT getting a tattoo would be the act of rebellion at this point. Being ...more
“What could violate social convention more than women coming together to indulge their hunger and take up space?” Roberta and Stevie become instant besties when Stevie is hired as an intern at the fashion website where Roberta has been a writer for four years. Stevie is a would-be artist and Roberta loves to cook; they decide to combine their talents and host Supper Clubs that allow emotionally damaged women to indulge their appetites. The pop-ups take place at down-at-heel or not-strictly-legal ...more
'He's got a real problem with Supper Club. Like, he said we think we're doing something really profound, but actually, we're doing something which is at best basic, and at worst, just really fucking bourgeoise and gross.'

Page 98 of the UK paperback edition gives it all away.

I really wanted to like this book based on the premise, but sadly the actual Supper Clubs take up only 15% of the whole narrative. The (in theory) brilliant idea of a secret society that embraces female hedonism is cast
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-awards
* 3.5 *

Supper Club , as nearly every review will tell you sits nicely in amongst other stories of "Millennial malaise". It is lighter than My Year of Rest and Relaxation , not a pseudo dystopia like Severance and from what I can tell not as funny as Fleabag. What did tickle my fancy was all the raucous Bacchanalian feasting. We learn handy pointers for caramelising onions, making your first (and probably only) sourdough starter, spaghetti puttanesca ( or sluts spaghetti, yell at Nigella for
Jessica Sullivan
This evocative novel is built around such a fierce and exciting premise: a group of women hungry for something more in their lives form a secret society called the Supper Club, where they get together every few weeks and feast on decadent foods all night long until they’re sick. They take drugs. They dance. They trash their surroundings. They put on weight. They reclaim their appetites in every sense: indulging their hungers both literally and figuratively; taking up space in a world where women ...more
Coreena McBurnie
I loved the premise of this book -- about women taking up space, finding out what they really want, not changing themselves for someone else, growing into who they want to be.

And there is this in Supper Club. Still, the execution did not work for me. I did not like this book much. The characters mostly annoyed me. I found the female friendships OK. The eating, drinking, doing drugs, etc to excess was difficult to read, but maybe that was the point. The men tended to be terrible, but maybe that
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this book. I understood some of the points she was trying to make e.g. appreciating our bodies whatever the size. I thought the gorging and vomiting was disturbing and really unpleasant to read about. I feel she's missed the point she's seemingly trying to make. and I found it uncomfortably lacking in the feminism for which she's reaching..
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

There’s something seriously wrong with my reading habits. I got an advance copy of Such a Fun Age. I started reading a book that my Kindle said was Such a Fun Age. About 10% of the way in, I thought the story has nothing to do with the description, and I went back to the title page, only to discover I was reading a completely different book — The Supper Club. By that point, I really wasn’t enjoying it much. Most human beings in this situation would stop reading and find the book they meant
When I first heard about this book, I instantly fell in love with its premise (and its stunning cover). It sounds so interesting – and it is!
In the eponymous supper club, women meet to devour lavish meals together, to unapologetically feast and overindulge on food. By literally and figuratively taking up more space, they try to reclaim power over their own bodies and redefine their (physical) place in society. This is what the supper club (founded by the novel's protagonist Roberta and her best
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Roberta has spent her entire life trying to be enough but not too much. She finds power in being thin but has a passion for food and longs for friends though she spends most of her time in her room.

Nearing thirty, Roberta's life is shaken up by Stevie, a free-spirited artist she meets at work. Together the women give in to their hunger and create Supper Club. Dumpster diving for food and buying booze, a group of women break into private buildings to feast on their finds, dress elaborately for a
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-favourites
A less nihilistic, but more relatable (and therefore more upsetting) version of Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation. It's the sort of book I wish had existed when I was 15, although I probably would've been horrified by it. Normally I'm more resigned about the degree to which women's bodies are policed, but this book actually made me furious about it, particularly for my younger self. Lara Williams really just gets it. Subversive and humorous, I won't forget it soon.
Look, I've read the reviews so far - you either love it or you didn't. It's either 1/2 stars or 4/5. But I can tell you, you've never read a book like this before. And if you've ever had questions about where you fit in and how, you'll identify. This is not a "feel good" book, that's not what you're getting here, or even a introspective story - this is more real than those fake books.

Do you ever think sometimes the life you're living - you're living it as an imposter? And this is an actual
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just Wow. I really don’t know what I expected out of the book, but I’m really happy with what I came out with. This story was incredible. A true testament to the changing female identity from when you’re young and awkward to when you finally think you have your life figured out. All in the span of 10-ish years.

This is a book I wish I read when I just graduated from college. I found a lot of myself in Roberta, the protagonist, and my heart broke with her that the world didn’t treat her
I'm so sad I didn't bond with this book.
It shouldn't have come as a surprise, seeing as Lara Williams' short story collection also wasn't entirely up my alley, just the individual sentences were rather lovely and well written, which made me want to try out a novel of hers and see if that form works better - alas, same case here.
She knows how to write, but she doesn't tell a story I like to read.
It didn't seem cohesive or strong, nothing was truly shocking, all the modernity of the themes got on
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, thrilling piece of fiction from an amazing author. SUPPER CLUB was not easy to get through, but it was worth the journey. I would call it a complicated piece of feminist literature, and would be very interested to see what other, smarter people think of it in that regard.

The idea of a feminist bacchanal is perhaps not the most original idea, but I truly appreciate the author’s attempt at making it current, wild, and urgent. Your heart will break for Roberta, but you’ll root for her
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's rare I give a book 5 stars nowadays but this book truly spoke to me. It felt like Fleabag but written about me, everything from the intense knowledge about food to the loneliness of feeling like you don't belong. I found so much of myself in Roberta that there were many moments of her pain that I cried through and I felt so incredibly understood. A wonderfully written book about a girl who just wants to be told what to do, only to realise that life doesn't work that way.
The sentences are occasionally "good" in an MFA sort of way but it is now my life's mission to find whoever decided to market as a bacchanal what is basically a pat and unchallenging fable about The Importance Of Female Friendships, pick them up by the hair, swing them around like the Trunchbull, and pelt them through the nearest window.
As excellent as I expected from the author of the short story “Treats”, which smacked me around the face when I read it in Best British Short Stories of 2017. I sort of thought this might be predictable (wild women, eating as resistance, awkward sexual interactions, all that stuff that’s rolling around the societal forebrain at the moment), but Williams’s antisocial anti-heroine is painted in shades of grey: sometimes she’s selfish, sometimes genuinely self-protective; sometimes she really is ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m really enjoying the female rage imbuing so much contemporary fiction. Here, Williams howls loudly about a woman’s place, what we hunger for and the space/s we occupy. I enjoyed every delicious morsel. The premise is two friends start a secret club where members gorge on food, drugs and dancing. The food writing is spectacular. This book will not be for everyone but I feel completely sated.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I don't DNF very often, but this book lost me at the puking dinner party with cocaine. I'm old and old fashioned. It started out ok, but I am clearly not the demographic this author is trying to reach. The women seemed excessively self-indulgent. I get their point, but I disagreed with their actions. I'm not saying its a bad book. I'm saying its not a book for me.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this cover – just look at it! The turquoise, the smushed blackberries – why is it so visually appealing to me?!

As you might guess, this is a book about food but it’s not one of those cutesy café stories (not that there’s anything wrong with those!), think more Bacchanalian feasting, recreational drug use, and breaking and entering. This story digs deep into the female experience, and into the notion that women spend their lives trying to take up less space. Trying to be thin,
Possibly in Michigan, London
I enjoyed this - some really great lines and never boring. I'm not sure that the supper club premise was as developed as it could have been but it all comes together in the end, with the parallel timelines of the narrator's present and her college years satisfyingly converging. The recipes at the start of each chapter were a good touch. Like Treats, her short story collection, much of the novel centres on bad and/or misguided hetero relationships (and here, one grey area lesbian or bi ...more
Jay-Dee Davis
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"At the end of each session we would lay on the ground, our eyes closed, gently breathing. This, Jessa told me, was corpse position, and it was my favourite.
'I could lie in corpse position forever!' I once told her.
'One day you will,' she replied."

I have never read a book that so perfectly captures the mindset and experiences of a (white) millennial woman before. I still can't decide if it was comforting to see so much of myself in the pages, or if it felt like a personal attack.

Either way, it
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
Supper Club* combines the kind of no-nonsense, undulating prose of Ali Smith and Rachel Cusk and the ever-relatable characters of Sally Rooney with Ottessa Moshfegh's acceptable absurdity. The present chapters are broken up by flashbacks to Roberta’s teenage years, instructions for recipes she has perfected over time, and unanswered emails from her estranged father living in America. Meanwhile she and her new work friend and soon, her roommate, Stevie, devise a living art project for women who ...more
Red Newsom
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm that sort of idiot who will pause mid-paragraph to take a photo of a particularly nice sentence. With Supper Club gave up snapping a few pages in, because the writing is so consistently good; everything means something, there's nothing lazy or slapdash. All killer, no filler.

This is a story of flawed females, friendship and food. I imagine "fight club but with food" will be an easy-in descriptor for Supper Club. Ironically, I ate SO MUCH over the day and a half it took me to devour this
Rhiannon Johnson
Supper Club by Lara Williams is definitely not a mainstream "everyone will love it" book. I am putting it in the "difficult to love but I appreciate it" category, right alongside The Goldfinch and The Golden Child. Supper Club initially interested me in that the main storyline is about a secret society of women who gather to eat, but the book as a whole focuses on art; artistic expression; and women's relationships with food, friends, and lovers.

Overall, I had a few problems with the timelines
Jamie Klingler
Found the book pretty confusing, if you are going to thematically talk about how to brown onions, every chapter or section should start with the same kind of intro, but it was like on 8 chapters but not all of them. There are flashes and moments I enjoyed, but ultimately found it tedious and without much depth.
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“Delia Smith calls it ‘tart’s pasta’. Italian American restaurants call it ‘whore’s pasta’. But Nigella Lawson calls it ‘slut’s spaghetti’, and that’s the one I prefer. Because there’s nothing more terrifying than a woman who eats and fucks with abandon.” 3 likes
“The line between pleasure and revulsion can seem so very thin, if it even exists at all.” 2 likes
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