Book Review: The Secret Life of Book Club


Book Club Just Got Real.

Have you ever been a member of a book club? I’ve been in a few over the years – any excuse to escape reality, really.

Because that’s what books do. Crack open the spine of a new novel and suddenly you’re whisked away to post-Napoleonic France to seek revenge on those who have wronged you. You’re a top CIA agent, the deadliest sniper in American history, or the wizard chosen to save magic from a dark end. You’re the talk of the town as a flapper married to F. Scott Fitzgerald or a very hungry caterpillar.

Where ever or whenever you decide to go, whether ink and paper or newfangled digital pixels, every book is a combination of 26 letters that, when one puts the patter together, immediately possesses the possibility to transport the reader to a world of adventure and emotion.

Sometimes fiction (or biography) sure seems a lot more intense and exciting than suburban reality.

Recently a writer once part of a virtual book club I was also associated with contacted me.

I used to do the BlogHer book club, but for the past year I’ve been writing my own books. My debut humorous women’s fiction novel about four moms in a book club gone rogue is coming out with a small publisher, Blue Azalea Press. I’m looking for bloggers who love to laugh that might be willing to review it.

Find the humor of the situation and lose myself in a book? Sold!

I downloaded “The Secret Life of Book Club” and began to read.

Jeanine Phelps is tired of reading about other women who grab life and have epiphanies. She challenges her book club to live like the heroines in the books they love. 

At first, seizing the day is pure fun until it generates an upset in each of their lives: 

  • Jeanine’s husband is so inspired by her new vitality it triggers a bizarre mid-life crisis involving tacos. 
  • Paula, the model PTA soccer mom, starts fighting with her man about the family printing business until she’s drawn back to her secret passion. 
  • Kate, a single mom and teacher, can’t figure out if the rekindled friendship with the new museum creator is worth the romantic risk. 
  • Anne, a mother of four babies, works to hold the book club together while trying to figure out her own identity. 

When everyone wants to quit the challenge, the media’s spotlight makes it impossible. Can they rely on each other while keeping their priorities? And more importantly, is their sanity worth the chance to each become a heroine in her own life? 

My first reaction was the feeling that I didn’t really know the main characters. They almost seemed shell-like caricatures of who a suburban mother should be.

And then I realized, that was the point.

The women didn’t necessarily know who they were themselves. They were living a routine. They didn’t truly know one another or what tomorrow would bring.

And I couldn’t stop reading.

Each of the four main characters has traits that will resonate with the reader. And each one has a life that the adventures of their book club can help enhance.

This is not a slapstick comedy book. But there are a significant amount of legitimate “laugh out loud” moments as you journey with them through self-exploration. Maybe there is something to this concept of living the adventure rather than simply reading about it.

As said by my mother, who is now a member of several book clubs, “There are far too many books to waste your time reading mediocre ones.”

Read “The Secret Life of Book Club.” And then maybe try something you’ve never done before.

Check out author, Heather Woodhaven, @hwoodhaven on Twitter and discover the secrets behind what really goes on in a book club (and maybe even a little romance if you pick out one of her other novels for an actually well-written book in this day of 50 Shades of Gray craze).

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