Archive | 10:04 AM

Book Club Reflection: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

17 Aug

OK, I have a confession to make. I got the start time of my book club meeting wrong. For some reason, I thought it started at 7:30 even though I had it on my calendar as 7. Well, my calendar was right and I ended up missing the first half of the meeting. So I apologize for a slightly shorter summary. I’m kicking myself for missing this discussion!

I was the only person in our group who didn’t really enjoy the book. A lot liked its humor and Mattie’s character. Many enjoyed Mattie’s journey to finding a way to make an impact on the world at middle-age with a change of direction. Many found a link between the militant suffragettes and the current BLM protests. Both have a lack of trust in the police and what they do for the sake of ‘order.’ When women or Black Americans are oppressed, society’s potential is wasted because there’s so much more that could be achieved if everyone had a chance to contribute.

Mattie was the focus of our discussion. Her focus on Ines was so intense that it took over the book. She forgot about the rest of the girls in the Amazons because she was so concerned about developing Ines and watching out for her. She realizes at the end of the book that Ines’s parents care deeply about her. Her father was very caring, even knowing that Ines was not his biological daughter. Her character was hard to like and didn’t seem to relate well to people. She was a teenage girl, though, and like most teenage girls, she was a work in progress. Mattie saw this and wanted to be the one to push her along the way. Ines didn’t need pushing since her parents were there for her. Ida was the one who ended up needing guidance and Mattie’s failure there came back to haunt her later.

The relationship between Mattie and the Flea was complicated. We feel confident that the Flea was in love with Mattie but that it was unrequited. It was heartbreaking how the Flea hid jer sexuality and her feelings from Mattie because of her experience with homosexuality earlier in her life. We speculated about Mattie’s feelings toward the Flea. We never seem to get a feel for this. She never showed attraction toward anyone so she might have been gay and she might not have.

My apologies for missing more insight into this book. I’ll try not to be forgetful again. We’re going to continue to meet online for at least the next month. This might continue for the rest of the year; our library is still at curbside-pickup only.

Until next time, write on.

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