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FB&C's June Book Discussion

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Showing 1-25 of 87 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 12, 2014 6:05:36 PM PDT
Welcome to June's FB&C (Free Books & Chat, also known as Friends, Books & Chat) Book Discussion. Please come on in, help yourself from the buffet and bar, and pick out a comfortable seat as we prepare to discuss this month's once-free book, Beatrice Munson by Lorena Bathey, now on sale for 99 cents.

We apologize for the delay from last Thursday, however, a week was misplaced -- you all know how pesky some weeks can be -- and we were forced to reschedule. Some of our friends live, or work, on different time schedules and won't be stopping in until later tonight (or early tomorrow morning, depending on which side of the International Date Zone you occupy).

So, readers, what did you think?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:08:17 PM PDT
Although it wasn't what I expected, I enjoyed reading Beatrice Munson overall. I did feel the last portion of the book seemed "rushed" somewhat.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:09:54 PM PDT
From the product page:

Publication Date: March 26, 2011
In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige.

Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa's high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice's house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected.

How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt.

This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties.

Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you might be one of them.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:10:28 PM PDT
I was a bit put off by a grown woman still stewing over a high school crush.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:10:44 PM PDT
What did you expect before you began reading? How did it differ?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:12:02 PM PDT
BecCA says:
Plays, thanks for stepping up & hosting for Terry. Unfortunately, I did not pick up the book when it was free so I have nothing to add to the discussion, but I will be checking in later to see what everyone else thought about the book. Cheryl

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2014 6:12:55 PM PDT
I wouldn't . . . but I must admit I know women my age (54) who are still fixated over a high school boyfriend. And how often have we heard of someone who walked away from a long-established marriage after reconnecting with an old boyfriend or girlfriend at a reunion, or on an internet site, like or something?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:18:16 PM PDT
Maybe I read the description too fast but for some reason I thought there was going to be more conflict between the two main characters or within Marissa herself.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:20:45 PM PDT
I think everyone is still huddling around the buffet and the bar. One of the last things we propagated before shutting our nursery were cuttings from my blueberries, so I now have about 100 bushes, and they are full of berries. I've baked blueberry muffins, pies, and scones prepared fresh blueberry pies (like the strawberry ones, with whipped cream on top) and tarts, and we have some blueberry coffee cakes for the morning crew, too. If you haven't had supper yet, you'll find southern fried chicken (gluten-free, of course, not that you'd notice), fried corn -- the farmer has a stand around the corner from our place -- and fried green tomatoes from our garden. I've got sliced ripe ones, from the same farmer, and fresh watermelon, along with watermelon, blueberry and peach salad.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:22:57 PM PDT
I think that sometimes when marriage or long-term relationships don't work out, people sometimes yearn for the "one that got away" years ago even though they might not have had a "real" relationship with the person. The fantasy and expectation of "what could of been" just seems so much better than the reality of their experiences.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2014 6:23:18 PM PDT
You know, I did, too. I expected Beatrice to be either a grown-up mean girl or one of those thoughtlessly beautiful girls who never noticed the awkward, ugly ducklings. Or perhaps one of those who peak in high school and are living in fading glory days. I certainly didn't expect her to be so, benevolent. Is that accurate?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:24:38 PM PDT
Plays, thank you for the wonderful spread - a little bit of everything for everyone's tastes and hunger level.

You are so thoughtful : )

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2014 6:27:13 PM PDT
The horses are like that -- they literally think the grass is greener on the other side of whatever fence they are on. They are sure that the other horse gets better feed and more of it. Better hay, and twice as much. A bigger carrot, a crisper or sweeter apple, two treats instead of one. And that's when they're happy!

The book sort of addresses that, too. Marissa might have thought the one who got away would have been a terrific husband, and, in a way, he was . . . but not the way that Marrisa would have wanted. The reality wouldn't have been a "happily ever after" for HER.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:27:26 PM PDT
Plays, that's exactly how I had imagined it was going to go... I really liked her character and I didn't expect to!

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:31:48 PM PDT
I think the author set us up to expect that. I found this on her website, where she is writing about writing this book:

"Do you have a nemesis...a girl or boy that was just the worst to you all through high school?
I had one girl who for some reason didn't like me. I remember clearly that while she seemed to have a veiled dislike of me what she really did that I couldn't forgive is steal the boy I really liked. He was gorgeous, smart and liked me too, until she decided she wanted him. Of course our love wasn't very deep since it didn't take him more than one week to abdicate our relationship and go with her. I still remember that feeling and obviously used it in my novel, Beatrice Munson (NOT FREE NOW).

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:35:00 PM PDT
I wondered if that might be the case, it probably sells more books.

However, I think portions of this book were really inspiring and it would still sell well described a bit differently.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:39:53 PM PDT
TravelQueen says:
I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't what I expected. I thought there would have been more conflict between Beatrice and Marissa. Beatrice really helped change the whole community.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:41:51 PM PDT
TravelQueen says:
Sorry, I'm late. I almost forgot about discussion. Thank you for hosting, Plays!

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:41:53 PM PDT
I found portions to be inspiring, too, and the reviews indicate that a great many readers did, also. I wonder how many were put off, like White Pepper Korndale, by the idea of a grown woman being stuck on a high-school infatuation? One theme that seemed to resonate with some of the reviewers was the prison of peer pressure that can strike women who should be beyond all that, what one reviewer called "the beige cage of suburban cul-de-sacs" or something similar? I read it immediately after we returned from visiting family and friends in Southern California, and, aside from the milder weather, the one thing that always strikes us is the sameness in the housing developments -- every home is the same color, with the same kind of roof, and the same kind of gardens, and one subdivision looks exactly like the next. We always have a hard time finding the right street for one cousin because the main thoroughfare is studded with copy-cat subdivisions on each side of the long, winding road.

We live in a very different setting -- on a farm around which the city has grown. Does anyone here ever feel trapped in a "beige cage" type setting? Do you want to break out?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:42:27 PM PDT
Marissa on Beatrice:

"The typical insecurity that lurked about most women that lived in my world didn't exist around Beatrice. She was pure instinct and absolute commitment to who she was. This compelled me to understand this part of her."

Have you known anyone similar to this aspect of Beatrice? How did it influence you?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2014 6:43:17 PM PDT
Glad to have you! Cat and I were beginning to wonder if we were it, except for a couple of hit-and-run posts. We also expected more conflict between Marissa and Beatrice.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2014 6:46:36 PM PDT
I did. I was only 19 years old, but Diane -- a married woman who seemed so much older but really wasn't -- decided to "mentor" me. She sat me down, time and time again, and talked to me about being who I wanted to be, not who everyone else wanted me to be, and helped me discover who I did want to be, then how to become that woman. It was a lot harder than in the book, of course . . . but would you guess that at one time I was so painfully shy that it literally hurt? That it was truly impossible for me to talk to people I hadn't known for years?

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:48:10 PM PDT
Interesting you should ask about the "beige cage" and wanting to break out. I am doing a lot of soul searching about a few things in my life right now including the pressure to return to a 9-to-5 type of job. I am seriously thinking about making a major career shift and not returning to the grind of a management position in an office with all of the politics and rigidity that goes with it. As you can imagine, that would be quite difficult right now with my family and their on-going medical issues. On the other hand, that is what is "expected" of me...

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:50:49 PM PDT
Good for you! Whatever you decide, the decision will be YOURS and the result of thought rather than forcing yourself into the slot someone else has chosen for you. Be your own Beatrice.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 6:54:20 PM PDT
Yeah, I thought that the gals in this book "saw the light" awfully fast. I wish it was that easy...

That's fantastic about Diane mentoring you, I wish I had had someone in my life at that age. I am embarrassed to admit how long "others" have affected some of my decisions.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  87
Initial post:  Jun 12, 2014
Latest post:  Jun 13, 2014

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