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Eight Hundred Grapes
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Past Book Club Discussions > Eight Hundred Grapes February Discussion!

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message 1: by Bonnie G. (last edited Feb 07, 2017 02:01PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Coming in a few days early with this. I need to buy time where I can these days, and midweek is going to be crazy so I am getting a jump.

So...I was not a big fan of this one. I had high hopes initially. I really enjoyed the discussion of winemaking, the analysis of terroir, and the growth of Sonoma County. I related to abandoning a growing legal career (I did the same.) In the end though, this was a pretty pedestrian tale of a woman with few real problems who turns every choice and issue into her personal melodrama. Two amazing guys are interested in me what shall I do?! My boyfriend had a secret baby with a movie star (?!?) conceived before he ever met me and waited a few months to tell me! His whole life changed, but I will never ask him how he is doing because clearly this is all about me. My parents are splitting up and though I am an adult with my own floundering relationship I still make this all about me and show no concern at all about this monumental event in their lives! My parents sold our home and family business and though I am an adult with a home and a job I still make this all about me. I will never ask them how they are doing because why should I care?! My brothers are in a serious fight, and I can make this all about me as well! Who cares if their relationship disintegrates, what matters is that I am feel embarrassed in front of others. I did not give a damn how this self involved woman's situation resolved. I was sort of hoping she would end up alone and miserable.


Janet (janterrydee) I am with you all the way on this one Bonnie. I read it to the end but quite honestly it was an effort. I felt no sympathy for her, she is quite happy for every one around her to be miserable as long as the world around her stays where it is, like some big security blanket.
I found the ending unbelievable, almost as if it was a bit of a rushed job on the part of the author.
Would i recommend it, no, not unless you want an easy read for the beach.


Alicia | 329 comments Bonnie wrote: "Coming in a few days early with this. I need to buy time where I can these days, and midweek is going to be crazy so I am getting a jump.

So...I was not a big fan of this one one. I had high hopes..."


Amazingly, I am only 2 chapters in and I agree with you completely already.


Michelle | 38 comments I'm totally with Bonnie and Janet. The book made me so cranky I took it out on my poor husband and then felt even worse. :P It did remind me of the time I watched that movie Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman and Chris Pine, which I would recommend in lieu of reading this book!


message 5: by Gigi (new)

Gigi | 30 comments Glad to hear I am not alone, have been having a hard time finishing this book!


message 6: by Bonnie G. (last edited Jan 29, 2017 04:02PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Wow, we have never had such a consistent opinion in this group! Be nice to your husband Michelle, at least he didn't have a love child with an international movie star (I assume.) :)


Sarah Rotenberry (sarahrotenberry) I really like Laura Dave and her book The Divorce Party is one of my favorites. This one was difficult for me to get through too which was surprising considering how I really like her other work. If you want to give Dave another try, I'd suggest her 2008 book.


message 8: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Taylor | 7 comments I read the discussion points at the end of the book and learned Finn and Bobby are twins! I searched for "twin" and found no mention related to Finn and Bobby, only Bobby's kids. Did anyone else catch this?

I felt the discussion points were for a different book. Very perplexing.

Also, the "didn't have adulterous relations but thought about it all the time" trope got old. Mom's lover is impotent so they can have a "we were just nekkid meeting" with Georgia? Ah-hem. A meet cute for Mom's boyfriend?!?

Ben had the greatest pea green suit? Pea. Green.

Ben's 4-year old daughter eats five chocolate chip pancakes and a milkshake for breakfast? And Georgia watched?

My point being, the winemaking seemed so grounded in reality, the odd details pulled me out of the story to the point I was on an oddities treasure hunt.

I agree, it was difficult to care about these characters. They felt to me like plot point victims. I finished the book on the off chance of a ending pulling it all together in a lovely synchronous pattern.

All I've got is Maddie in a $50,000 tree house staring at the red door of daddy's house.

Goodness I look forward to A Gentleman in Moscow.


message 9: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Taylor | 7 comments Spoilers above, sorry, I should have clearly noted this. I may need a glass of wine to unwind.


Michelle | 38 comments Bonnie wrote: "Wow, we have never had such a consistent opinion in this group! Be nice to your husband Michelle, at least he didn't have a love child with an international movie star (I assume.) :)"

LOL Yup, he's a keeper. No surprise children, and he's very patient when I'm unreasonably grumpy. :)


Alicia | 329 comments Linda wrote: "I read the discussion points at the end of the book and learned Finn and Bobby are twins! I searched for "twin" and found no mention related to Finn and Bobby, only Bobby's kids. Did anyone else catch this?..."

I thought it was mentioned right up front - something about Finn being a couple of minutes older but Bobby always leading the way, or something.

I thought Bobby's kids are too young. Unless there is an older kid that I haven't met yet.


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I read the discussion points at the end of the book and learned Finn and Bobby are twins! I searched for "twin" and found no mention related to Finn and Bobby, only Bobby's kids. Did anyone else ca..."

I completely forgot about the impotent significant other! That exceptionally limited view of people as sexual and romantic beings is so limited and it annoyed the heck out of me. Does cheating not occur without penile penetration? Can lesbians therefore not be unfaithful no matter what they do as long as they do not dally with penis having beings? That was creepy and weird.


Alicia | 329 comments Alicia wrote: "I thought Bobby's kids are too young. Unless there is an older kid that I haven't met yet. ..."

I've got to the bit explaining the kids ages.


Pamela | 302 comments Michelle wrote: "It did remind me of the time I watched that movie Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman and Chris Pine, which I would recommend in lieu of reading this book!

I'm on the anti=train too. I listened to it on several long walks so don't feel I wasted my time as much.

I totally spent the time thinking of that movie! And the horrid wedding I went to in Napa once. Which might have predisposed me to hate the book.

As I said on the other thread and agreed with Bonnie, its all about fake problems, Noone talks to each other, And the main lady is all about fixing things for people, but she's so totally clueless clearly she can't fix anything!

And she's getting married and moving to London but she wants everyone else in her life to freeze in time. They have to keep the vineyard, everyone has to stay in their relationships and jobs. But god forbid she have to go out of her way to help and be involved in those lives. Oh wait, maybe she'll wait a couple weeks before moving to London to set things right.

I will say on the boyfriend with the baby- he spent months spending time and getting to know the kid and has said nothing to his fiancee? That's the issue and she ignores it!


Alicia | 329 comments Pamela wrote: "
I will say on the boyfriend with the baby- he spent months spending time and getting to know the kid and has said nothing to his fiancee? That's the issue and she ignores it! ..."


I don't see how that wouldn't be an immediate deal-breaker. He's known for months and has completely failed to mention it. Of *course* you can make a family work under those circumstances but a week out from the wedding to not have mentioned it, and to have bought a fucking house within sight of the ex's house... Ben got off so lightly.


Pamela | 302 comments Alicia wrote: "I don't see how that wouldn't be an immediate deal-breaker. He's known for months and has completely failed to mention it. Of *course* you can make a family work under those circumstances but a week out from the wedding to not have mentioned it, and to have bought a fucking house within sight of the ex's house... Ben got off so lightly. "

Exactly! Plus, did he not want the daughter involved in his wedding? He is so completely at fault in this.

(view spoiler)


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "Alicia wrote: "I don't see how that wouldn't be an immediate deal-breaker. He's known for months and has completely failed to mention it. Of *course* you can make a family work under those circumst..."

Okay, I felt better about Ben's behavior. Clearly he should have told his fiancee, but I can understand he flipped out and got scared. But the moving thing...YES! I was obsessed with the same thing!


Pamela | 302 comments Bonnie wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Alicia wrote: "I don't see how that wouldn't be an immediate deal-breaker. He's known for months and has completely failed to mention it. Of *course* you can make a family work under..."

Flipped out- it was MONTHS not weeks! Including vacations to spend time with her!

Good to know I'm not the only one who became focused on minutiae that doesn't really matter!


Alicia | 329 comments Pamela wrote: "Flipped out- it was MONTHS not weeks! Including vacations to spend time with her!
..."


And I thought his responses were so childish "Well I've decided I will be with you so that's all that matters". Dude. Dude.

The mother of your child - a woman with whom you will interact for the rest of your life if you are going to share the raising of this child - has decided she wants you back. She is not going to make things easy.

The mother of your child is a movie star (who should hire her own freaking security not rely on the local sheriffs department) - even if she were bringing all the goodwill in the world to the relationship your fiance would be entitled to say that she didn't want her marriage under the scrutiny that those sorts of people live with.


Emily (eloesche) | 4 comments Wholeheartedly agree with everything here. I really wanted to like this and feel transported into wine country, but I didn't even find it a satisfying beach read (though, full disclosure, it was read during a gloomy, gray Chicago winter). I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Which one is Bobby and which one is Finn? Which one was supposed to be the "good" one? I couldn't keep track. The attempts to make the characters flawed and "real" fell flat and read as just plain annoying. It also drove me crazy how so many of the chapters ended with feeble cliff-hangers that led nowhere. My articulate review would be a big "MEH, not worth your time." It did make me want to eat chocolate chip pancakes, though.

As an aside, until now, I always seem to be a few months late on the books this group reads, but I really enjoy reading everyone's thoughts and comments after the fact. Thanks, Bonnie, for your leadership. This community of thoughtful ladies is a welcome escape! :)


message 21: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (xj2608) Pamela wrote: "Alicia wrote: "I don't see how that wouldn't be an immediate deal-breaker. He's known for months and has completely failed to mention it. Of *course* you can make a family work under those circumst..."

Me too, on the moving! I was all - but your stuff went to London! Unrealistic BS, because it would cost A FORTUNE to send it back and forth.


message 22: by Kris (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kris | 252 comments Mod
I'm only 60% done, and I'm sort of slogging through. I'm sure I'll finish, because that's what I do, I finish things. But, all of your comments are making me laugh!
Basically, we're reading a not very good romance novel. Would that be an accurate summation? Or is that an insult to romance novels? ;-)


Pamela | 302 comments Kris wrote: "I'm only 60% done, and I'm sort of slogging through. I'm sure I'll finish, because that's what I do, I finish things. But, all of your comments are making me laugh!
Basically, we're reading a not ..."


I don't romance as much as bad chic lit. Wish it was more romance. Smut always makes a bad book readable. (although I don't think I would call this bad as much as blah. And it's certainly inspiring conversation)


message 24: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (xj2608) I, too, thought the book was ridiculous. Every situation was unrealistic - no, worse, just plain unbelievable. Down to dropping chocolate on your wedding dress and having it cleaned, pressed, and unstained within a day.

Georgia was awful. Ben was awful. Everyone else was underdeveloped and/or inconsistent. The only character I halfway liked (and yet, was still completely unrealistic) was the friend who kept giving Georgia (what was ultimately bad) advice.


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "Wholeheartedly agree with everything here. I really wanted to like this and feel transported into wine country, but I didn't even find it a satisfying beach read (though, full disclosure, it was re..."

Thank you so much Emily! I really enjoy the conversation with this group of smart (and stylish) women.


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "Kris wrote: "I'm only 60% done, and I'm sort of slogging through. I'm sure I'll finish, because that's what I do, I finish things. But, all of your comments are making me laugh!
Basically, we're r..."


I agree that it is substandard chick lit. Maybe we need to do a smut month! I am a fan of high quality smut. Romance is the caramel corn of the literary world, and who doesn't like a little unhealthy sweet-salty yum.


Pamela | 302 comments Bonnie wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Kris wrote: "I'm only 60% done, and I'm sort of slogging through. I'm sure I'll finish, because that's what I do, I finish things. But, all of your comments are making me laugh!
Bas..."


The Fug Ladies did just post the Men of the SAG awards, so maybe we're all thinking in that direction!


message 28: by Sara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sara | 96 comments Well, this is an entertaining thread! I was neither over- nor underwhelmed by this one. It's possibly because this type of book is not one that would typically show up in my to-read list, so I didn't want to judge it unfairly for lacking, you know, wizards and spaceships. I agree with the comments about thin characters and low-stakes problems. I couldn't get invested in any of them. The parental background interludes had no place. At least it was a quick read.

Since we're calling out poorly handled details, I would like to contribute the alleged "nine hour drive" from Silver Lake to Sebastopol. I live in California. I have done this drive. You would have to be doing it seriously wrong for that to be your norm. I got stuck on this in the first chapter and cannot let it go.


Alicia | 329 comments Kris wrote: "Or is that an insult to romance novels? ;-) ..."

Insult to romance.


Alicia | 329 comments Bonnie wrote: "I agree that it is substandard chick lit. Maybe we need to do a smut month! I am a fan of high quality smut. Romance is the caramel corn of the literary world, and who doesn't like a little unhealthy sweet-salty yum. ..."

You know I am always up for smut.


message 31: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Kingston | 15 comments Oh thank goodness - this is my first time participating and I was worried I'd be the sole contrarian for having So Many Issues with this book.

Spoilers ahoy!

It started off so promising, too, with that first chapter! It's such a great set-up to have this character in the midst of personal disaster and reacting the way she does, by running to her family in the country. But then it immediately annoyed me that it piled on with the mom having an affair, the brothers having problems with each other, the vineyard's being sold - and to a big bad evil corporation! fronted by a handsome guy who she's inconveniently attracted to! - gaah, PICK A CONFLICT, LADY, AND STICK WITH IT PLEASE.

And then, as many of you have noted, Georgia manages to make it all about her. This raft of unforeseen problems brings out her control issues (omg I wanted to punch her when she filed the law suit to prevent the vineyard sale) and ultimately leads to her self-actualization through becoming a vintner. I mean, it COULD have been about how someone gets hit in the face by the reality of how she's completely missed major stuff going on with her loved ones and confronts her own self-absorption and grows as a human being, but no no no - it's about how wine can save your hardened lawyer soul!

Ugh, I didn't realize how annoyed I was by this book. The characters just all seemed to be a collection of loosely held-together characteristics, they never felt like actual people to me. I constantly felt the presence of the author, telling me what these people were like (instead of showing me) and doing jazz hands around every new plot point. And as a heavy drinker of bargain-basement wine, I just could not even appreciate all the Wine Is Art and Box Wine Kills sentiments.

END SPOILERS.

Also I don't mean to be a pill, but can we distinguish between romance novels and smut? In a Venn diagram of the two, the overlap is very far from total. I love Romance, but don't enjoy smut, so....just sayin.


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "Oh thank goodness - this is my first time participating and I was worried I'd be the sole contrarian for having So Many Issues with this book.

Spoilers ahoy!

It started off so promising, too, wi..."


Great review. And I have made a note of your smut-free preference. I agree that the Venn diagram has plenty of romance without smut and I can tell you from my reading experience that there is plenty of smut that is totally romance free. I myself lean toward the smut (as I get older, my life still has plenty of sweet left in it, but less sexy than I would like so I need to turn to the written word) but I can absolutely be swayed to the purely romantic.


message 33: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Taylor | 7 comments Alicia wrote:" Finn being a couple of minutes older" , thanks! Since twins generally have an affinity for each other, and these two were so at loggerheads, it seems an unnecessary plot device.


message 34: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Kingston | 15 comments Bonnie wrote: "I myself lean toward the smut (as I get older, my life still has plenty of sweet left in it, but less sexy than I would like so I need to turn to the written word) but I can absolutely be swayed to the purely romantic."

Well full disclosure: I write Romance, but it's not smutty - which is more of a truth-in-advertising thing than it is anything to do with being judgey. So if/when it comes up, I can recommend romance, but not smut.

Wait actually, that's a lie, I hear about all kinds of books so while I can't personally vouch for it, I hear that PERV by Dakota Gray will blow your mind if you want good smut. ;-)


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "Bonnie wrote: "I myself lean toward the smut (as I get older, my life still has plenty of sweet left in it, but less sexy than I would like so I need to turn to the written word) but I can absolute..."

Holy crap! I just read teh description and I can't stop laughing, I don't think I am old enough for this, and I have an AARP card.


message 36: by Kris (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kris | 252 comments Mod
Ok. So, I just finished the book... and I'm not really mad at it. The middle part was a little tough to get through, but the last third wasn't so bad, and all tied up in a neat little bow. Neither rage inducing nor glee producing. Just fine. I will forget in 5 minutes that I read it, but ultimately, it was fine.

Now, go back to recommending smut... lol!!


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Kris wrote: "Ok. So, I just finished the book... and I'm not really mad at it. The middle part was a little tough to get through, but the last third wasn't so bad, and all tied up in a neat little bow. Neither ..."

Don't judge me....https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Pamela | 302 comments Bonnie wrote: "Kris wrote: "Ok. So, I just finished the book... and I'm not really mad at it. The middle part was a little tough to get through, but the last third wasn't so bad, and all tied up in a neat little ..."

Hey- it's free on Kindle!


Tricia Toney | 13 comments Three star material. Georgia was really spoiled and whiny. The motion to block the sale of the vineyard was one example. Instead of trying to understand why her parents wanted to sell, she presumes to tell them that no, they really want to keep the vineyard, heir wishes be damned. Really didn't care much for this one.


message 40: by CynnieRose (new) - added it

CynnieRose I listened to the book at work and that helped. I believe that the author like me is a visual person. The vignettes like running outside in her wedding gown to confront the ready made family and the burning of the cottage are very cinematic. Her set pieces were really good but the plot to connect them was weaker.


message 41: by Joanie (new) - added it

Joanie (joaniephotos) | 80 comments I felt bad because I completely forgot about ordering this book. Now, I'm glad. From all your comments, I can tell I'd have gotten very little enjoyment from it.

Instead, I read The Lake House and Empress of a Thousand Skies. Loved the former, actually liked the latter (which is saying something since I'm not much of a sci-fi fan).


Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1258 comments Mod
Joanie wrote: "I felt bad because I completely forgot about ordering this book. Now, I'm glad. From all your comments, I can tell I'd have gotten very little enjoyment from it.

Instead, I read The Lake House and..."


I didn't like the Lake House so maybe you would like Eight Hundred Grapes more than I did? Just a thought.... Not that I am encouraging others to spend the time or money on this one.


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