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September’s Book Club Pick is The Meryl Streep Movie Club by debut author Mia March: a novel of love, family, and movie night.
Fifteen years ago, a New Years Eve car accident shattered Lolly Weller’s family. She took in her orphaned nieces Isabel and June and raised them with her daughter Kat, but the girls have not remained close over the years. Now, faced with a tragic diagnosis of her own, Lolly calls them home to her coastal Maine inn to support her—and each other.
Each woman just happens to be at a crossroad in her life. June struggles as the ex-good girl who dropped out of college after her only whirlwind love affair left her as a single mother. Seven years later, she is desperate to discover why her lover abandoned their blooming relationship and her son yearns to find the father he has never known. Isabel is still railing after finding her husband with another woman. Can she brush aside the pain of her betrayal to find the life and the family she has always wanted? Kat remained by her mother’s side all these years, helping Lolly run the The Three Captains’ Inn with charm and grace. She’s ambivalent about upcoming wedding and wonders if she will be settling instead of following her passions.
The three women, now stuffed together in their old attic bedroom, barely tolerate each other in the beginning. All it takes is a little Meryl Streep (during the inn’s weekly Movie Nights) to get them to open up and see each other—and themselves—in a new light.
The story highlights how movies can touch a part of us we keep hidden and open clogged channels of communication. The “deep meanings” each woman pull from each movie are a tad bit too neat, but they come together nicely to mend the fractures in the family. I could almost see the light bulbs going off over each character’s head she had her “ah-ha!” moment. But movies can do that. Especially Meryl Streep movies.
Though The Meryl Streep Movie Club delves into deep subjects, the writing keeps a light tone. The back cover proclaims it follows in the footsteps of The Friday Night Knitting Club and The Jane Austin Book Club, so readers should keep this genre in mind. Expect to get a bit teary-eyed, but it won’t rip you up. It’s more Mama Mia than Sophie’s Choice (but that’s good because I’ve watched Mama Mia at least a dozen times but can’t bring myself to watch Sophie’s Choice). I still found it light enough escapism to enjoy at the beach.
If you need a refresher on the classics or you’re looking for some movie night suggestions check out the list of all the films mentioned in the book (along with some fun movie & snack pairings) on the publishers website. It’s just one of the unique details that would make this novel an entertaining book club selection. Women’s fiction and chick lit fans can not only discuss the book, but their favorite movies as well.
So grab some popcorn, keep a tissue in your pocket (just in case) and curl up in your favorite cozy chair (or beach lounge) with this book about love, loss, and family movie night. Just be prepared to hold your own Meryl Streep movie marathon soon after. (I just added Out of Africa to my queue—I am embarrassed to admit I’ve never watched the movie or read the book—a problem I shall soon remedy.)
by Mia March