Hi friends! It’s cold in Texas today–and we even have a bit of snow on the ground. It’s a good day to curl up with a good book and read.
Still playing catch up over here on a last review for a book I read in 2017: The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick. This is the first book in a seven book series. I saw book one on a friend’s bookstagram account and thought it looked like a fun read. I love book clubs so I was excited to try it!
- I love the covers of this series. I think they are so cute!
- I’ve read several books connected to Concord, MA recently (including this one) and I am itching for a literary tour there! I have been to Concord only once and loved it. All the allusions to literary and historic sites in that area were fun to read about!
- Any other book club fans out there? I seriously love them. I can almost guarantee that I will like a book that has a book club in it. 😉
The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick follows the first year of the mother daughter book club as they read Little Women during their 6th grade year. Goodreads summarizes, “Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma’s already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month. But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can’t help but wonder: What would Jo March do?“
I was first drawn to this book because of the clever title and cute book cover, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the genre. I would call this middle grade fiction; it does take place during the girls’ sixth grade year in middle school. But I was surprised by how fun it was to read. I wasn’t annoyed by the girls or their pettiness much. In fact, I enjoyed reading about their friendships with each other and with their mothers. Sometimes, I worry about what my kids will read when they’re older. Is there anything out there that will be fun to read and promote good morals? This book does that.
I love books with multiple perspectives, and it was fun to get inside each girl’s head and to see the book club from their varying points of view. The characters are fun because they are so different from each other. They aren’t complicated characters. In fact, you could say some are rather stereotypical. But they are likable and each of their voices is engaging and easy to follow. Reading about Emma felt like reading about myself (I was a shy, bookish 6th grader like her) Cassidy made me laugh with her jokes and drive to play hockey. It was hard to imagine the pain of Jess;s life with her mother gone. And I think Megan was the most interesting to read because of the ways she changed through the novel.
Little Women is one of my favorite classics and it was fun to read all the discussions and allusions to that great book! I love the premise of a mother daughter book club. And I love that they start with this book. I hope that middle school girls that read this series then go pick up the books discussed in these novels. Reading Little Women as a twelve year old sounds a bit daunting (it’s always bigger than I remember!), but it also is such a timeless story of friendship, family, and following your dreams.
This novel carries on many similar themes to Little Women. The positive messages were some of my favorite aspects of the book. The girls learn about friendship and how to be a true friend. They don’t do this perfectly. In fact, there is still room for improvement at the end of the novel (I believe they will be including Becca and her mother in the book club in book 2 which I am excited about!). But they are willing to change and try better to be good friends. Middle school is a hard few years for all of us. So I appreciated the focus on being true to yourself. For the girls of the mother daughter book club, that meant standing up for what they believe in and standing up to bullies. Finally, I appreciated the strong mother/daughter relationships in this novel. Each of the girls has a different relationship with her mother ranging from strong to weak. But each of those relationships changes through the novel and I appreciate the focus on building strong family ties.
If I had a qualm about this novel, it would be the ending. It was too unrealistically good. The ending sure wrapped up everything super well and almost idealized life for all the girls (and most of their moms!). I would have preferred a bit less there. Also, I never understood why Jess’s mom went to NYC to be an actress instead of being a mom. That rubbed me the wrong way. All the other moms were more realistic and believable for me. I think the ending doesn’t fit as well because suddenly all the girls wishes come true (fashion designer at age 12, catch a foul ball and get it signed by the team, credited in print as an author, the list goes on…). But life is not always so perfect. I think having big dreams is wonderful, but to achieve them takes a lot of work too.
Overall, this novel was a lot of fun to read. I enjoyed the characters and the setting especially. Definitely want to continue reading this series!
How do you feel about book clubs?
What are some of your favorite classics?