Archive | 10:08 AM

Book Club Reflection: The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian

8 Sep

My book club met via Zoom again to discuss our latest pick, The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian. I’ve been finishing books closer to the meeting date lately so I had very clear memories of this one and was excited to discuss.

Unfortunately, I was not in the overwhelming majority of people who liked the book. We were rather split. Some enjoyed it, others didn’t. Most of us did enjoy that it was local and set in an area we knew or were familiar with. Unfortunately, many found the characters unlikeable and we don’t think they were supposed to be. Most of the characters couldn’t see beyond their own problems. Malcolm seemed to be the only exception to this. Readers found the characters whiney. However, they were ‘different like everyone else’ and in that sense, I found them pretty realistic. Many liked the side characters more than Joe and Ana. Chick and Adrianne were favorites. Some readers felt the anti-Christian comments made in reference to Karen and Woman Lyfe were uncalled for.

A lot of our discussions focused on Joe and Ana’s relationship. We tried to decide if we thought it was a good and healthy relationship and a lot of people felt it had a lot of flaws. Some said they’d get sick of Joe not working. He didn’t seem to have much a life outside the little work he did and going to the bar. (Personally, I wondered how much the opinions would have changed had Ana been the one not working, but that’s just me.) A lot of things they did as a couple seemed to have dropped off and disappeared as their friends found other interests or moved away.

Another major question was if Ana was really so wrong about kissing Bruce and if her actions deserved the reaction Joe had. Personally, I felt that the bigger issue was not telling Joe about their kiss and a few people agreed with me. Another reader pointed out that she had started to be intimate with Bruce when she hadn’t been with Joe in so long. And even more ‘weird’ was that she was intimate with Joe after returning from Grand Rapids. It was iffy and some of us felt it was more justified than others.

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