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Published September 3rd 2018
A Story about Friendship Self-Discovery and Books
Photo courtesy Good Reads websiite
There is no doubting that women, in particular, love books. I know, men do too but there is something special for a woman about her favourite book and the joy of sharing and discussing it with her friends. A Month of Sundays explores this relationship between women and books through 4 women, aged over 70 who are long-term members of an online book club.
They each live in different parts of Australia but are united in their love of reading and the regular times they put aside to chat (through Skype calls) and share their thoughts and ideas about the novels they have read.
When a friends house is available for house sitting for 5 weeks in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Adele, Roz, Simone and Judy decide to seize the chance opportunity (each with differing levels of enthusiasm) and travel across Australia to meet up in person for the very first time. For their own reasons, each woman knows this is a good chance for them to take a break from their normal lives and embark on this retreat together.
Each Sunday, they present and discuss a book which helps to describe an explain their own selves to the other members of the group.
It doesn't take long to reveal that each woman is dealing with significant and personal life events: illness, family secrets, regrets, pain and loss, and dislocation but are united in the friendship, love and care that emerges through their time together in discussing books. They come to each experience an element of self-healing from the pains that have tortured them both in the past and in the present.
Author Liz Byrski cleverly introduces books for discussion by the 4 characters which are reflective of each characters personal circumstance to help illustrate and understand the challenges they face. Sometimes I found the book review discussions a little distracting and just wanted the characters to get on with unravelling the challenges they faced. But I guess that's the foundation of the book and helped to explain the complexity of their circumstances.
I enjoyed the chance to read a book which has a majority of strong, female characters and one set in Australia. It could easily be adapted to film I suspect. A Month of Sundays is a book about the importance and power of social connections, understanding and accepting difference and having the bravery to take a chance. If you find joy in reading and sharing your love of books, this one will strike a chord with you.