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Friday, 7 September 2007

Book Group

When Helena first suggested that I join her book group – I must admit I winced and immediately began to rummage in my enormous handbag in order to distract her while I tried to think of an excuse… “Oh you must come,” she insisted, “it is at Eliza's house this month, and she has just had a super Bang and Olufsen home cinema and home integration system installed – I am dying to take a look. It will be my turn next, and I have just had my back garden landscaped to accommodate a tennis court. It really is a hoot, just like an alcohol fuelled version of the PTA – but with none of the teachers, a pure gossip fest.”

I immediately saw my opportunity, and insisted that the reason I had declined an invitation to join the PTA was because of a personal suspicion that I may already be alcohol dependent and if the book group was actually worse than the PTA, all could soon be lost...

“I have managed to get permission from the inner circle for you to join this group Bea, if you don’t come along, it will be interpreted as the most hostile of snubs – you simply are not allowed to decline this offer.”

I had no choice, I agreed to attend and I must admit – I was not looking forward to it at all. I never ever read anything for pleasure, that is not printed inside the cover of The Style supplement of The Sunday Times, or the Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine.

I received an email from Helena informing me that the book of choice this month was In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes, and so I sent the au pair to pick up a copy last week from Dulwich Books.

I must say, this book has been a complete eye opener for me. Caroline Smailes writes so very beautifully, I wept all over my dry clean only 100% silk Allegra Hicks Kaftan as I turned the pages (there was mascara everywhere, darn). It was a completely gripping book and touched me on so many levels. I found myself creeping out of bed at 3am to finish the text on the first night. My thoughts have been filled with the story, and also with admiration for the writers skill and talent – ever since...

Eliza pounced on me at the school gates this morning. "Are you coming to my house tomorrow for our book group then?" She demanded.

“Well, I said, I am really not sure that I am ready to discuss this book yet. It is a life changing text, I need to digest it, reflect on it. My emotions are still so raw, it touched me on so many levels,” I replied – my eyes once again filled with tears.

“Really? Gosh,” replied Eliza. "I was hoping to take a quick leaf through in the bath tonight after I ordered a couple of crates of Chablis from Majestic Wines. You really want to discuss literature then?" she said curiously.

"Oh yes, yes indeed. But not yet. I am not ready to discuss it yet," I replied, my voice filled with emotion...

"Darling girl, I don’t think you would enjoy our book group at all. It really isn’t your type of thing," she barked.

I am so relieved. I would like to thank Caroline Smailes personally. I would also like to give credit to my PA Lydia, who actually read the book for me and gave me notes, direction and motivation to carry off this act with confidence. I may even read this book you know, it really sounds incredible, but you know, I am deeply, deeply superficial!

I have been let off the hook...


East of Dulwich said...

Fear not DM, there are plenty of other far less intimidating bookgroups for you to choose from including one at your local library ( ) -- and really not having time to read a book is no obstacle to attendance.

But without wishing to sound callous, another book about an abused childhood....?

DJ Kirkby said...

Lol. You really MUST invest in some better mascara. I suggest Lancome Defencils, waterproof and transfer proof. (And removing with ease when you are drunk or tired proof!)

Frog in the Field said...

Ha Ha! very good.
Did you study Method acting at all?
I hate the girlie nights, either in the form of dried flower parties or some such rubbish, a dinner party is so much better.
A female told my husband I was to attend some girlie mother and child group. He knew she'd asked me a few times and I'd used many excuses not to go. It's just not my scene. I'd much rather stay at home and have lunch with my handsome husband.
He looked at her very sternly and said " I think she goes out far too much and I am not letting go to anything else". She scuttled off and never asked me again, but always looked at me with a tinge of pity in her eyes.

dulwichmum said...

Sweet and Perfect East of Dulwich,

I think what is so amazing about this particular book is that it is written in the most amazing style, from a child's perspective. I am not drawn to books exploring harrowing subject matter, but this is a powerful book because there is redemption.

Darling DJ Kirkby,

I shall throw my Prescriptives mascara in the bin!

Dear Frog,

You know I was so good I think I should be given a BAFTA! I am reading the book now you know. I think I would like the "image" of a deep and literary person now that I have tried it out.

debio said...

Book clubs frighten me, DM; having to be intense and learned is such hard work; and the emotion - oh - such wear and tear on the facial muscles. Hardly gives La Prairie a chance!

IngeniousRose said...

Oh Dulwich Mum you have indeed let yourself down. As soon as you said the book had touched you on many levels I knew your PA had been given the job of reading it. I have heard so many reviewers use this comment as it is all-inclusive and covers angle. I hope Caroline Smailes has taken you to one side and 'had words'. Tut!

Elsie Button said...

ha ha. i have to say, i was bloody impressed for a moment there - you had me fooled.

I wonder what Eliza said about you to the others at the 'book group' that evening!

dulwichmum said...

Lovely Debio,

It strikes me that the book club, is a modern day and local version of Elle Deco magazine - a way of showing off your home to the squirming minions. My problem is - I just don't want these sticky fingered individuals near my plate glass or brushed steel surfaces...

Lovely IngeniousRose,

I should have asked you to read the book for me - clearly! Although I have actually just finished "In search of Adam" and it touched me on so many levels...

Perfect Elsie,

Hopefully she said I was an academic genious!

beta mum said...

Dare I mention product placement? Or would I be betraying unpleasantly cynical leanings?

dulwichmum said...

Perfect Omega Mum! Do you think I could possibly swing a discount at Majestic Wines? OHMYGOD!

Omega Mum said...

You're an author. S*d the book clubs - don't bother joining them. Just make sure they all turn up for the signings.

Potty Mummy said...

Bravo, Dulwich mum! I can see that the smell of the greasepaint and the creak of the boards from your triumphant school performances of Lady Windermere's Fan / The Boyfriend / Westside Story have never quite left you... (And thanks for the tip - am looking for an out from an similar invation myself).

lady macleod said...

My Darling they could really use you over at MI6, and then you should jet to Arlington as they too are in need of strategy! You are my Queen of the superficial!

rilly super said...

dulwichmum, darling, your book club sounds harder to get into than the masons. I trust that first dibs on reviewing your own tome will go to Richard and Judy who seem so much more democratic. I don't think you are superficial at all by the way

Kelly said...

How skilled you are at delegation! I doubt very much I shall ever be invited to a book club- I would need at least three Allegra Hicks Kaftans to cover my ample frame- but should the need arise, i will take a leaf out of your Smythson book!!!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Oh Dulwich Mum, very good! You have successfully made yourself so boring they'll never ask you again.
I'm impressed taht you wear mascara at 3am

dulwichmum said...

Perfect Omega Mum,

I forgot! I am such an air head!!! I have just been so busy spending my advance...

Sweet Potty Mummy,

I am so glad to be of service, you can always turn to me for advice you know!

Dear Lady MacLeod,

Gosh, I feel like Miss Moneypenny!

Darling Rilly,

Really? I must try harder then sweet friend, I pride myself on being deeply superficial!

Perfect Kelly,

A girl can never have enough Allegra Hicks!

Lovely Piggy,

From 7.00 am every morning, I have the full mask of the girl from the Clarins counter!