The Rory Gilmore Book Club discussion

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Other Book Discussions > Anyone read "Excellent Women" by Barbara Pym and want to discuss!?

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 361 comments I just finished Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. From GoodReads "An unqualifiedly great novel from the writer most likely to be compared to Jane Austen, this is a very funny, perfectly written book that can rival any other in its ability to capture the essence of its characters on the page. Mildred Lathbury, the narrator of Pym's excellent book is a never-married woman in her 30s--which in 1950s England makes her a nearly-confirmed spinster. Hers is a pretty unexciting life, centered around her small church, and part-time job. But Mildred is far more perceptive and witty than even she seems to think, and when Helena and Rockingham Napier move into the flat below her, there seems to be a chance for her life to take a new direction."

My comments FIVE STARS: A most excellent book! Full of lots of humor and thoughtfulness--I agree that it's a bit Jane Austen-esque. However, I am not sure that the overall theme is quite so optimistic as Austen's works. I would be very interested to hear from others who have read this book to find out what they think. Did Mildred find a fulfilling life? What was Pym's view of "excellent women"--were they neglected victims or silent heroes? I'm looking forward to reading more of Pym's work. Highly recommended!!!

I think many of you GG-ers would be interested in this book, not only because it's well-written and entertaining, but also because of the social subjects it raises--especially in terms of women in 1950s England. I can picture Rory being interested in this, especially in terms of her DONNA REED "discussion/argument" with Dean regarding what it takes to be a fulfilled woman.

Let me know if any of you have read it and we can get a discussion going!!! I think this is rich with subjects to discuss.


message 2: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I read a different Pym, and have another... but sadly haven't gotten to this one. I remember really loving the one I read - and we read it for a class, so that was saying something! I must have liked it - I bought a second of hers while I was a flat broke student!


message 3: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 361 comments I'm interested to read more of her books and also discover her motives for writing, i.e., was she a feminist trying to point out flaws or simply an observer of humanity, trying to paint a portrait of society as it is (was)?


message 4: by Erin (last edited Feb 04, 2009 04:45PM) (new)

Erin | 76 comments Kathryn - after reading your recommendation, I checked it out of the library and had nearly begun reading it. But THEN the library called to say the The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo had finally come in. Since it's new to my library, I only have it for 2 weeks, and it's long so I had to put Excellent Women aside - but only temporarily. I'll catch up with you before too long and join in your discussion!


message 5: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 361 comments Haha, I totally understand, Erin! Have fun with "The Girl..." I hope you will find "Excellent Women" a good read and would love to discuss it with you. I hope I didn't talk it up toooo much, but I just felt it was really rich with stuff to reflect upon and talk about.


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