Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Enjoyable Book for Mothers and Daughters? Voilá! Guilt Assuaged.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The readers in my family constantly complain that I never take their reading recommendations.  When I open my mouth to protest these vicious accusations, I often realize they're right.  It's not that I don't respect their opinions—it's really not—it's just that I often have more pressing reading assignments to which I have to attend.  Still, I have guilt.  Lots of guilt.  So, a couple weeks ago, when my 11-year-old daughter asked me to read the first book in one of her favorite series, I saw a golden opportunity to redeem myself.  And, while The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick didn't knock my socks off or anything, I'm glad I read it, if only so my young reader knows that I do value her opinion.  Very much.

The story revolves around four 6th grade girls in Concord, Massachusetts, who are thrown together when their moms decide to organize a mother-daughter book club.  Emma Hawthorne—who comes from a bookish family and wants to be a writer when she grows up—is okay with the idea.  In theory.  In fact, if her best friend's mother hadn't traipsed off to New York City to star in a soap opera, it might even be a fun thing for her and Jess Delaney to do with their moms.  But, for now, Jess only has a father, so awkward doesn't even begin to describe the situation.  Then, there are the other girls:  Megan Wong is a middle school A-lister, whose friends delight in making life miserable for girls like Emma and Jess, and Cassidy Sloane's a mischievous tomboy who can't talk about anything but sports.  How are four such different girls supposed to get along long enough to choose a book, let alone meet every month to discuss it?

Plenty of ups and downs mark the girls' lives as the year moves on.  And the silly book club isn't making things any better.  Or is it?  As the group continues to read and talk about Little Women, they learn some surprising truths about each other—and themselves.  

First off, I have to say that I love the idea behind this series.  It's a lot of fun.  The story in this first installment reflects that because, while it does deal with things like bullying and parental criticism, it remains both upbeat and lighthearted.  Frederick provides plenty of laughs to offset the more serious parts of the plot.  I did find the characters in The Mother-Daughter Book Club a little cliche, the writing a bit bumpy, and the ending way, way, way too neatly tied up.  Overall, though, it's a cute book that teaches some good lessons about family, friendship and the power of forgiveness.  My daughter has already stacked the next four MDBC books on my desk—and I plan to read them.  If the first installment is any indication, they're fast, fun novels that can be enjoyed by mothers and daughters alike.  Voilá!  Guilt assuaged.    

(Readalikes:  Other books in The Mother-Daughter Book Club series)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for nothing offensive—the book is just geared toward readers aged about 9-12

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed The Mother-Daughter Book Club from my daughter's personal library.  I believe she got it from her school librarian as a prize for reading lots of books (must be genetic :]).    

8 comments:

  1. awww... I usually tell people if you want me to read it,... it needs to get in my hands otherwise it will just go on a never ending list that I may never get finished with.. :) Sounds like it was a great moment for you both!

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  2. I really like your reader daughter.

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  3. Yeah for you!! Relationships, relationships, relationships....you're building a great one!

    I need a Mother and Son book club. My sons call me and share titles and our conversations can go on for hours. L.O.V.E. it! It HAS presented me with some interesting reads and not generally ones I like or would recommend, but I consider it guilt assuaged AND relationships forged. Yeah!

    PS...Are you warming up yet?!?! Here's to warmer toes, scattered clouds and rain only between recess and lunch! ;)

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  4. I have this one on my shelf and I'm expecting complete fluff when I get to it. Sounds like my expectations are spot on.

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  5. How fun! I should give this one a quick read.

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  6. We read this a few years ago for our...wait...Mother/Daughter book club! It was only OK for me, but my daughter has devoured every book in the series. She's distraught that there are no more after Wish you were Eyre. It's been a great series for her.

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  7. It's so nice to know that your daughter loves to read books. But in my case my mom doesn't like to read books. I dont know maybe because she's getting old and for me it's okay. It'll be so nice when you spend time together reading books like in a book club with my mom. Thanks for reading my comment. Please Reply. :)

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    Replies
    1. That's too bad that your mom doesn't like to read. Maybe you can start a book club with your friends that like to read and find something else that your mom DOES like to do so that you can spend more time together. Good luck!

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