The Summer of the Sisterhood Readalong discussion

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Book 4 Readalong (July 22-28) > [Book 4] Part 1 Discussion

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message 1: by Sylwia (new)

Sylwia (wishfulfillmentsylwia) For this discussion we're starting with this section:

"And she flies / And she is everywhere / - Nick Drake"

The last section we're reading for this discussion is:

"It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't - Mignon McLaughlin"


message 2: by Sylwia (new)

Sylwia (wishfulfillmentsylwia) Discussions questions:
Did any lines or paragraphs specifically stand out to you?
What do you think about the quotes Brashares picks for these sections?
Whose storyline are you finding the most relatable this time?
Whose storyline are you finding the most engaging?
Do you think Tibby's storyline is necessary, educational, preachy, and/or another adjective entirely?


message 3: by Sylwia (new)

Sylwia (wishfulfillmentsylwia) Some of my thoughts on this part:

- I love that Julia used exactly Bridget's symbol of power (her hair) to try to knock her down during Carmen's narrative. (I talk about Bridget's hair in my upcoming Ode to Bridget Vreeland video, plug, plug.)
- The part where Carmen describes Bridget as an extrovert and Lena as an introvert and Tibby as a couple really stood out to me.
- I love the mortuary and I look forward to what it might possibly mean for Bridget's progression.
- I really enjoyed learning more about Bridget's family and seeing them in real time, which we really hadn't seen in prior books.
- Carmen's storyline is the most mysterious for me. Even though I've read this book at least twice already, I find her story the least formatted/predictable.


Trina (Between Chapters) (trinabetweenchapters) I ended up reading this a couple of weeks ago because I COULD NOT STOP. Sorry, group schedule! And the scene that really colored most of my opinion on the book happened in this section.

I'm about to be a downer, btw.

It was the scene where Brian and Tibby have "sex", although I say that with quotation marks because I fail to see any consent.

Here's the scene word for word:

(Brian:)"Do you want to...?"
(Tibby:)"I don't know...."
She loved him. She knew she did.
And then in a moment, simple and pure, they were together in a way they hadn't been before.


First, you are unable to GIVE or INTERPRET consent if your mental function is altered by drugs, alcohol, or comatose state, and I was under the impression that Tibby drank enough to alter mind since she'd mentioned her inhibitions being lowered due to the wine.

Even taking drunkenness out show me the part where she said yes? Because I saw her say she wasn't sure and then it was happening.

Part of me thinks, 'oh but they were in a loving relationship and it doesn't even cross her mind if it was rape or not, so no big deal.' But the other part of me knows that people are assaulted by someone they know or are romantically involved with way too often and the law doesn't exclude relationships or marriages from sex crimes.

I think a big part of situations like this comes down to the individual's perception of it. If she did not feel a violation of her boundaries occurred, then did it? What keyed me up, however, was that Tibby DID experience a lot of guilt, remorse, and trauma afterward due to a pregnancy scare. If she is in fact pregnant, which she clearly states she didn't want and is not ready for, what if she then thinks "you did this to me when I didn't say yes." If she decided to press charges, there would be a real case against Brian, I'm sorry to say (and I loved Brian, whyyyyyy).

I know the age old argument is "but this was written 9 years ago and we weren't talking about rape culture in the same way," but I was just leaving college in 2007 and I guarantee you that girls in high school and college at that time were being warned against these types of situations. I would have liked to see any sort of examination of this situation by the book outside of just the consequence of a possible pregnancy. I felt like that reduced it to women having no other concerns than a pregnancy scare when it comes to sex.

Would like to know if anyone else had similar feelings?


message 5: by Sylwia (new)

Sylwia (wishfulfillmentsylwia) I was listening to that part today while driving and sucked air in through my teeth thinking "dang, Brashares, you really did not do well there". I think that the way things happened was problematic. I didn't immediately think that it was rape, I thought it was problematic, but I can't argue with the fact that Tibby did not give consent. I think that Brashares implied that Tibby accepted Brian with her body, without words, but that's a problem anyway. That's not the kind of message we're trying to promote.

I think that all she had to do was add "yes". I wonder if this decision was purposeful on her part or not. I think she focused a bit more on the common reality rather than how we could act more positively. I'm against this in writing. I understand why she did it, but I don't support it.

I think you're completely right. Brian could have been charged.


message 6: by Desmondella (new)

Desmondella (treasuryoftomes) I don't think any lines or paragraphs stood out to me specifically but I do think the writing style has gotten considerably better at this point.

So far this instalment does seem incredibly depressing and angst ridden though. I'm not sure if anyone else gets that same feeling but it seems like none of the main characters are happy and they're basically just going through the motions of life and being extremely negative and sad... I get that they miss each other and have known each other their whole lives but so far, I just don't get it. This book seems a lot more dark then its predecessors.

I think the quotes that Brashares picks for the section divisions are usually very poetic and beautiful and may occasionally provide insight to past or future events in the books but they don't really provide much purpose other than that. They also have no apparent formula to them. They are quotes from all different things, people and fictional characters. And it does slightly annoy me that there are no actual chapter headings or chapter names in this series and that the quotes are used in replacement of that. It just seems odd to me and I'm not a fan.

I think I'm finding Carmen's storyline the most relatable at this time, simply because she's feeling like an outcast and has been having weight problems and it seems like she's extremely invisible and nobody seems to like her all that much. Even though I have only ever attended one semester of university, I was so much like Carmen in high school in every one of those ways.

I think Tibby's storyline is the most engaging at this point. I'm really invested in her and I'm interested to see what happens between her and Brian and I suppose I can slightly relate to Tibby as well.

I think Tibby's storyline is educational and necessary but not for the reason some may assume. I'm not sure if a lot of YA that was released close to ten years ago explored the topic of sexual consent or even sex in general and even though the topic was explored horribly (with no consent whatsoever, basically romanticized rape) it was still explored and maybe with this, teens will be able to learn what not to do.

I don't know how to feel towards Brian right now though. He seems like he is really apologetic and that he has no idea the trauma he has caused Tibby and -I know this makes me sound like a horrible monster- I feel kind of bad for him. He seems heartbroken that he's hurt her and pushed her away and he is attempting to make things right. But at the end of the day, what's happened has happened and he was to blame for not waiting for the go ahead and an actual "yes" answer.


Trina (Between Chapters) (trinabetweenchapters) I'm not familiar with what YA was being released back then because Harry Potter and Twilight were really the only YA I knew of. But if I'd read that scene in 2007, maybe I would have taken it to heart and thought it was ok, which could lead to bad things. Or I would have noticed it as bad portrayal back then too. Either way, I think it really missed the mark with that scene. The only thing I myself can see girls getting out of it is that pregnancy scares are unwanted, which takes away the focus of other emotional aspects to sex.


message 8: by Desmondella (new)

Desmondella (treasuryoftomes) That's very true, Trina! You made a few points that I hadn't really thoroughly thought about.


Trina (Between Chapters) (trinabetweenchapters) I don't know what section of the book it's in, but Sylwia sent me a pic of one of another character questioning consent. So I'm just confused why books would flip flop like that more than anything!


message 10: by Desmondella (new)

Desmondella (treasuryoftomes) Yeah, the whole topic of consent just needs to be handled better in this novel.


message 11: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Street | 10 comments the consent thing if im honest did not even cross my mind whilst reading it. it only caught my attention whilst reading the discussion here. i thought it was a mutual thing between them both, but reading this i can see that consent wasn't really given.

i am not really invested much in any of the stories, i feel it should have ended with the third book as it finished up really nicely. perhaps this should have been a collection of short stories giving a glimpse into their lives rather than another summer. hopefully this will change as i carry on reading the novel.


message 12: by Siiri (new)

Siiri (smmason14) | 15 comments The quotes I honestly haven't payed much attention to since in the first book or two they seemed to make no connection. So interesting to hear they are somewhat connecting now? Guess I'll have to pay more attention as I continue reading.

I am most interested in Bridget's storyline and Tibby's.
I love how Bridget stood up to her dad about her brother. Her dad irritates me so much!! Depression is not something to be ashamed of, and it can run in a family, especially when the boy lost his mother!
On the note of Tibby, when reading it only very briefly crossed my mind about her not saying yes. Though reading this back when I was in high school I don't think I would have thought about it then either. I think the pregnancy scare though is something I really felt and I really felt for her.
I definitely know with my children sex will be something I talk about with them, boy or girl, and to make sure there is consent. I think the whole scene was very realistic to how many girls experienced losing their virginity, especially before rape was as widely talked about. Another thought I had was would it have seemed as bad if there was no mention of asking? I think my biggest problem was that they didn't talk about it. But realistically most teens having sex won't talk about it before hand. I definitely think it's something that will change over time and I will talk to my kids about.


Trina (Between Chapters) (trinabetweenchapters) Margaret wrote: "The quotes I honestly haven't payed much attention to since in the first book or two they seemed to make no connection. So interesting to hear they are somewhat connecting now? Guess I'll have to p..."

Oh yeah, I definitely think that even today people don't always (and don't always HAVE to) have a whole discussions and a game plan before hand because so much happens on the heat of the moment, first time or not. I wouldn't have even noticed it if the question hadn't been put in here. So why include the question and deliberately have her not say yes?


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