The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: In the bestselling tradition of The Friday Night Knitting Cluband The Jane Austen Book Club, three women find unexpected answers, happiness, and one another, using Meryl Streep’s movies as their inspiration. Three estranged female relatives—two sisters and the cousin they grew up with after a tragedy—are summoned home to their aunt’s inn on the coast of Maine. Thirty-one-year-old Isabel Nash McNeal is reeling from her husband’s affair, but a secret pact she made years ago may keep her from the one thing she wants most. Twenty-eight-year-old single mother June Nash promised her young son she’ll finally track down his father, and her search will lead her where she least expects it. Their cousin, twenty-five-year old Kat Weller, rocked by her mother’s shocking announcement and the arrival of her cousins, accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal—then has her “yes” tested in ways she never imagined. Every Friday night, Isabel, June, and Kat reluctantly get together to watch the films of their family matriarch’s favorite actress—Meryl Streep—and find themselves sharing secrets, talking long into the night, and questioning everything they thought they knew about one another, life, and love. Through surprising and heartfelt discussions of movies such as Out of Africa, The Bridges of Madison County, and Mamma Mia, the three women unexpectedly discover who they really are and what they truly want
My thoughts: This book really surprised me. I like Meryl Streep. I don't love her but I find her acting compelling. But the book is really about four women, reuniting 15 years after a tragic accident, each going their separate ways, and finding meaning in a few of Streep's movies. They are each able to pull deep meaning out of the movies and each take is different and worthwhile.
The author provides some insight in that she has often found meaning in movies and applies life lessons to her own life. She picked Meryl Streep and concentrated on movies she has done and wrote them into the book, looking at them from different characters' perspectives.
The characters provide different personalities and depth to the story. This is not as light of a read as I had anticipated. No person is simple and single dimensional. Isabelle discovers her husband has been cheating on her. She also harbors a deep desire to have children, despite a childhood pact they made to never have them. Edward withdraws from her and falls in love with another woman. Isabelle returns to her teenage home of her aunt to lick her wounds. To me, she is the one who changes the most in a logical and beautiful way.
June had a two night stand and found herself pregnant. Now the single mother of a 7 year old son, she embarks on an adventure to find the father of her son. She finds what she is looking for and so much more and not in the way anticipated.
Kat was the least interesting to me. On the other hand, her needs were complex, too. She had the option to stay and marry Oliver, the boy next door and her best friend, or leave to study abroad. Even by the end of the book, there is no clear "right" answer. But the journey of discovering her own heart is a good one.
Lolly is the catalyst that brings them all together. Lolly announces she is terminally ill and the girls rally around her. Lolly is the one that took the sisters, Isabelle and June, in when their parents and Kat's father (Lolly's husband) were killed in an accident. But even Lolly has some of her past to forgive herself of.
Very well written, the story develops naturally and concludes beautifully.
*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.