The Mother-Daughter Book Club
What You Need to Know:|
• A book group brings together an unexpected group of mothers and daughters.
• This title is the first in the series which currently includes five books. The girls read a different classic in each.
• The book club is reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
• The Mother-Daughter Book Club is written in the first person, from four different girls’ perspectives.
• Look for the discussion guide and recipes in the back of the book.
• There are many references to Little Women, but it is not necessary to read it first.
This book club is off to a rough start. Their moms start the club and pick the book (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott), and their 6th grade daughters are less than enthusiastic about joining in. Emma and Jess are friends, but Megan is in a clique with mean girl Becca, and Cassidy is an oddball new girl. How could this unlikely group possibly come together? Well, what begins as an opportunity to spend quality time with their daughters and encourage them to read the Classics, becomes a source of security, community and friendship for both the mothers and daughters involved.
As the moms cope with some of their own problems, the girls face the strains of middle school and the challenges of growing up. There are innocent crushes and comical pranks. Conflicts arise between the girls, their parents and the “Fab Four” popular group. Becca embarrasses Emma by reading her poem out loud in front of the boy she likes, Cassidy sneaks to hockey try outs because her mom doesn’t want her to play, Jess deals with “goat girl” taunts because she lives on a farm, and Megan has to choose between the “Fab Four” and her new book club. They also deal, although not too deeply, with some more difficult issues. Jess misses her mom who left the family behind to pursue an acting career in New York and Cassidy misses her dad who was killed in an accident. In the end, they find that they’re not alone because the members of the book club are there to offer support. They also learn a little bit about friendship, compassion and communication along the way.
The first person account from each of the club members gives readers additional insight into their individual feelings, concerns, hopes and dreams. At the same time, it can be confusing. Because each chapter is told from the voice of a different club member, readers just need to pay a little extra attention to keep track of which character is taking the lead. There’s also a touch of history as the girls’ hometown, Concord, MA embraces its past with a battle reenactment and celebration of Patriot’s Day. The girls also talk about what life was like for Louisa May Alcott, who lived in their community more than 100 years earlier. There is minimal talk about technology other than Megan’s cell phone, giving the story a more timeless feel. While not always the most realistic portrayal of middle school life, The Mother-Daughter Book Club is a fun, popular series that keeps readers engaged.
Heather Vogel Frederick
2010, 304 pages
Books & Reading, Bullying, Cliques/Popularity, Friendship, Family Life, Romance, Self-Awareness/Discovery
• Which character did you like the best?
• Which of the four girls in the book club is most like you?
• Is the story realistic? Could you see something like this happening in your neighborhood?
• How would you feel if your parent signed you up for a book group without asking first?
• Do the mothers help or hurt their daughters’ relationships when they get involved?
• Why does Becca treat other people the way she does?
• Are you in a book group? If not, would you like to join one?
• What do the girls in the story “get” out of being in a book group?
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