June 7, 2010

book club: the boy in the striped pajamas.

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend as as fun as ours - two barbeque parties, baseball, and a movie night.
This week I want to start off by introducing a new recurring section of Brown Boots, the Book Club. Starting back in January, me and a small group of my girlfriends have regularly got together to discuss a novel we've all read. The Good Book Club, as it's officially known, has a few very simple rules: 1. We only read novels, 2. Whoever picks the novel for the month is responsible for leading the discussion, and 3. Official snack of the book club is brie, a baguette, and chocolate. (Unofficial rule number 4. We always try to watch the movie of the novel, if there is one, to see how it compares.)

I thought it would be neat to share with you all the different novels that we're reading and let you know what we're reading for the next month, in case you'd like to follow along.

For the month of May we read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. This is a story of nine-year old Bruno and his friend Shmuel (said like shmole). The setting is during World War Two, although Bruno doesn't really know that. Bruno's dad is a high-ranking soldier and he has to move to a place called Out-with because the Fury told them to. One day Bruno is out adventuring around their home and comes upon a fence with a boy behind it. They develop a great friendship that transcends fences and prejudice. I won't spoil how the book ends (you should read it to find out!). Boyne does a marvelous job at not making this a book specifically about the Holocaust, but about any and all places in the world where there are fences (real or metaphorical) dividing people from one another.

One of my favourite questions that Mel asked us was about whether there are any places in our lives where we experience fences. Our fences are not as serious as the one in the book - where a genocide is occuring - but can be as simple as not understanding the deep poverty experienced by those living in the east end of Hamilton. Or, not making an effort to get to know new immigrants to Hamilton. We definitely left feeling challenged to surmount the fences in our lives and work at understanding people better.

We also watched the movie following our discussion, and even though it is only an hour and a half, we all felt that it stayed true to the novel (unlike some movies where they change the ending and spoil the story!).

For the month of June we are reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Feel free to join us!

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