The Read Around The World Book Club discussion

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August 2018 - ZAMBIA > Second half of the book

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
Final thoughts?


message 2: by Beatrizmallow (new)

Beatrizmallow | 36 comments Mod
I have just finished the book and I have conflicted feelings. Some parts of it, I really liked, the setting and the cultural and historical aspects of the book were very interesting but it feels like half a book, it ends very abruptly for my taste and too many questions are unanswered.
What did the rest of the group think?


message 3: by Marie (new)

Marie (marieemonaghan) | 59 comments This definitely lost something after the time-jump into adult Pumpkin’s life. It felt like the second half of the book wasn’t fully realised, skimming over several important and potentially interesting plot points (Ma’s illness, Grandma Ponga’s relationship with Tata, BanaBee’s witchcraft & superstition - I would have loved any of these to be explored in more detail). The book is short & could definitely have taken another 100 pages no problem. Such a shame as a loved the first half.


message 4: by Helen (new)

Helen Noah | 5 comments From the curious eyes of a child in troubled times and situations, the view in the first half of the book is somewhat fascinating, although I feel with Pumpkin in her unstable and unsecure childhood. She tries to manage her problems, is quite savvy in her ways - which includes manipulation. But hey - she wants to survive, thrive. The second half features the grown up "Pumpkin", university educated, but still in troubles. The ways in which she tries to cope with her cheating husband aren't so much different from what they were when she was a child. It seems that a university degree doesn't bring along with it a maturity of character (I know it). So she still manipulates and is depended on her husband. This is not fascinating, it's frustrating. She obviously lacks a bond with her children. It seems one can't simply shake off one's upbringing, especially in the emotional and social field. That would take more than formal education. The book depicts men and women stuck in their gender roles, even though Pumpkin has influence of western culture and formation. Change needs so much more! Where to begin? What is the first step to real improvement? The book doesn't tell.


message 5: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin The time jump to adult Pumpkin also kind of threw me for a loop, but mostly because I expected the book to follow a very different path with the introduction of the political unrest background story around the middle of the book.

After I digested the jump, I really appreciated it... because it's so unfinished and as a character Pumpkin is still so immature after all the life years and the university education.

I think the book shows very clearly, that in some cases, we as humans cannot overcome a hurtful past, that even as adults we shrink down to the size of kids in the presence of our elders and gender roles are still a reality.


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindaleehall) | 30 comments I really enjoyed this book. Pumpkin's voice and point of view were very engaging. Childhood insecurity and fears extend into adulthood. Pumpkin never quite overcomes her need for validation and security. This seemed realistic to me, even to the point of guilt over situations over which she had no control. Sadly, most of the female characters are emotionally completely dependant on male approval and validation. There is a hint of hope at the end, that Pumpkin may start to get out from under this male shadow and move toward self validation.


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 338 comments Mod
If there ever was a book of two halves then it is this one. I can see what the author tries to do but it did just end so abruptly that I feel dissatisfied but maybe that was the point? Or am I reading too much into it?


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 13 comments The time jump was so abrupt that I thought I had put my bookmark in at the wrong page.
And, the word/theme/title of ‘patchwork’ was hammered away towards the end.
Did the author lose interest with the story?


message 9: by Candace (new)

Candace | 53 comments I also was surprised with the time jump and frustrated with the “grown-up” Pumpkin. I do wish I knew what really happened but also, oddly, like that EBA ended the story the way she did. I definitely will be thinking about it for the next few days.


message 10: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (modica03) | 82 comments Well, I agree with you guys that there was an abrupt change in the time line between the first and second halves. I don't think I ever commented on the first half but it was by far. I finished today and felt like the second half was somehow cheap and rushed. I also thought the characters lost their depth and that I was viewing them from a distance. I gave it 3 starts. It was okay. Not revelatory, and I don't know how culturally accurate, but okay.


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