Here’s what happened at Book Club…
We’ll be reading for a year!
This month’s meeting began with the delivery of all our new books! Thanks to Retreat by Random House for selecting We Don’t Bake Muffins Book Club as the winner of the Books Are Beautiful Contest. (Or as Kelly likes to tell people.. the best book club in Canada contest). Saaaaaame ting.
So this month we read 419 by Will Ferguson. It was a bit of a mixed bag of opinions tonight.
Some really enjoyed it. Some thought the characters’ stories just weren’t developed enough and left too much out. While a few us thought the movement from one story to another story to another story without rhyme or reason made it very confusing (i.e. Laura in the desert with her oil can) and a bit pointless, some of us enjoyed that writing technique.
Before reading the book none of us had heard the term 419, although we had all heard of the Nigerian email scams. Few of us knew much about Nigeria at all really.
A few members thought the oil story line went on for much too long. While others felt it was necessary to really get a sense of what life was like in a country overtaken, polluted and exploited by big oil companies – interesting how the Canadian scam victims live in a city made rich from oil.
We were all drawn to the Nigerian characters and would have liked to know more of their stories. Was Laura’s mother a bit ‘off’? What was the point of Officer Brisebois since no relationship with Laura ever developed? What was Amina running from? How did Winston end up running a 419? What happened to Winston to take him down that path?
The dinner with Winston’s parents left us thinking, “What the &^*%!”
The Laura we met previously was not the same Laura who took the pictures of Winston and his family and emailed them back to Canada to ensure her safety. In fact the Laura we met previously could have proofread the enroute magazine on the airplane to Nigeria, but getting past the police interrogation, outwitting Winston, having Nnamdi arrested and eventually killed and pulling a 007 to evade her impending death…. nope. None of us bought that little ploy twist.
We love reading books that teach us something new. 419 did that. We now know a lot about how the scam works. How it lures in its victims. In fact we all tended to agree that given the right set of circumstances, in the right frame of mind any of us could get caught up in a scam – (just not this one of course – we know too much!). We also learned about Nigeria and the price the country and its people has paid for ‘development’. A scam that exploits is born of a country exploited.
This was a really great discussion book and made for a fun evening. Thank you Jen for the wine and the nibblies.
It’s funny, but since our meeting I’ve got this wicked hankering for fruit. Odd. Oh well….