Here’s what happened at Book Club…
What’s better than book club??… Pre-Christmas book club!!! What a wonderful evening discussing The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok in Toddy’s beautiful Christmas tree lit living room. Not all of us read the book but that’s no reason to miss out on a night of great nibblies, wine and laughs.
Those of us that did read the book thought it was a great story of the struggles, fears, shame, guilt and regret experienced by families of those with mental illness. Several of us shared stories of how mental illness has touched our own lives personally and professionally. Mira’s descriptions, and more significantly Norma’s own words through her letters and journals allow us to see Norma as not just a homeless schizophrenic but as brilliant, funny, curious woman who is also a homeless schizophrenic. We talked about how medical professionals, social workers & law enforcement often don’t see past the mental illness.
We discussed the option of foster care for parents who are unable to cope with children, but the lack of options for children unable to cope with parents. We talked about the irony that at Norma’s memorial the women at the shelter spoke of their affection for Norma and the important role she played in their lives. Yet her daughters felt they had no option but to move, change their names and spend 10 years hiding from her.
Liz had a special connection as she lived in Cleveland just a few blocks from the neighborhood Mira’s grandparents lived. She was able to relate to many of the places mentioned in the book. As for the grandparents… Whoa! We felt there may be an untold story or two there.
In addition to discussing the downside of Botox, we fought over toothpicks, reminded Pam about her commitment to write the summary from last book club (not too late!), made suggestions on decorating the stripper poles & heard one member’s heartwarming story of family found and the connection to a special twirling heart. We also each received a thoughtful gift of homemade Christmas cookies from Liz and a piano playing sing-a-long from Toddy and her daughter Karen. There’s nothing like a bit of sugar and some Adele, Paul McCartney & John Denver to wind up Book Club for the year!
A wonderful evening wormies. Merry Christmas to the lot of ye! Perhaps we’ll share a libation or two over the holidays.