The fourth Silver Strand “Books in the Afternoon Book Club” met at Nora Nicosia’s house on Tuesday May 15th at a new time: 3 pm. Our selected book was the best seller Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. The book is a historical novel with two timelines: 1939 and current day about an orphanage called the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (real name). Although 80% of 6,550 Amazon readers rated the book 5 stars, our group found it to be too long and a bit confusing. The book had a shallow lead character (Avery) and a cookie-cutter romance with the requisite single father and perfect child. The child abuse scenes in the orphanage were unpleasant to read. We rated it 3.4 on a scale of 5.
So why did we have such a great discussion for over an hour? All of us researched the orphanage after finishing the book and coming to the meeting. We were fascinated to learn about child trafficking at the home from 1924 – 1950. They handled over 5,000 adoptions and as many as 500 children died at the facility. A subtitle could have been “the woman who stole children from the poor to sell to the rich.” The issues weren’t one-sided. Were the children better off? Did any of us experience adoption? Did the organization help promote adoption on a national basis? How did this continue for 26 years? Which famous people arranged adoptions from this institution? The book actually did an excellent job of making history very real.
The group continues to have seven or eight lively attendees. We’ve dispensed with food and wine—we’re too busy talking. Our next meeting will be Tuesday June 19th at 3 pm at Nora’s house on Spinnaker. We delayed reading Mary Coin: A Novel by Marisa Silver since it has the same time period as the one we just finished. We will be discussing The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner at the June meeting and saving Mary Coin for later.
If you have any questions about the group, please contact Nora Nicosia at firstname.lastname@example.org or Clarissa Cervantes at email@example.com.