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Archive for January, 2013

Bridge of the gods

Bridge of the Gods

Cheryl Strayed ended her life changing journey at the Bridge of the Gods on the border of Washington State and Oregon.  She walked 1,100 miles from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, up to Washington.

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Book Summary

On Monday, January 7th the Booked for the Day book group met to discuss The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.

  • We started off the discussion with everyone saying that the book was very fluid and easy to read. The author did a great job with the setting. The descriptions were vivid, especially of the landscapes, the bodies of water, and the towns.
  • Because Gemma Hardy is retracing Jane Eyre’s footsteps, it seemed to most of us that reading the book was like remembering Jane Eyre, and for some of us it invited inevitable and unfortunate comparisons. We discussed whether the book was too predictable and some comments were made that it actually seemed liked plagiarism. We wondered whether it was right that someone can take a highly successful book like Jane Eyre and capitalize on it by writing a modern day version.
  • The general consensus was that we were bothered by the age difference between Gemma and Hugh Sinclair.
  • We were also confused and found it a little unbelievable that in Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s that they still used working students in that way. We were unsure if these kinds of things really took place in mid-20th century Britain.
  • We also discussed the reason Gemma left Hugh Sinclair and whether it seemed like a logical reason. We looked at Gemma’s decision through the lens of her own sense of right and wrong, which may have changed when she made some morally questionable decisions herself, making Hugh’s omissions more understandable.
  • We talked about who Nell’s father was and some of us thought it might be Seamus.
  • We discussed whether it was necessary for Gemma to steal. Most of us did not understand why she had to steal from someone who was so kind to her and thought that if she would have asked they would have helped her out.
  • The group wasn’t surprised when Gemma arrived in Inverness and received no help from the towns’ people but then when she arrived at the next town and someone took her in so quickly, some were surprised. Group members said they felt that was how small towns are, more willing to help people in need.
  • The group sympathized with Gemma for what she went through, but thought that some of Gemma’s decisions did not seem logical. We discussed the reasons behind this, some of which may be that Gemma was still so young and grew up without role models.
  • Finally we thought that the book left a lot of loose ends. Did Gemma marry? Did she pay back the money and make amends? What happened to her box? And did she reconcile with the two women who were so willing to help her in her time of need? Could it be that Margot Livesey is thinking of writing a sequel? We may then find out what happens to Gemma. Or is it Fjola?

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