Friday, 11 May 2012
Review: The Mother-Daughter Book Club
Author: Heather Vogel Frederick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 24th, 2007
Genre: Junior Fiction, Contemporary
When sixth graders Cassidy, Emma, Jess and Megan are brought together by their mothers to form a Mother-Daughter book club, they have no idea that this is the start of something important. Instead, each girl is less than enthusiastic about being forced into monthly meetings. While Jess and Emma are best friends, Cassidy is the weird new girl and Megan is friends with the mean Queen Bee. The girls live in Concord, Massachusetts, which is the inspiration for the book they will be reading this year: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. As they read about the March sisters, the girls discover their passions and grow closer with each other and their mothers. As the girls struggle through middle school, dealing with everything from crushes to cliques, the book club brings them together and even changes them.
While this is the first book in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, it’s actually my third book, since I started with the two most recent books in the series. This book is told in alternating points of view from each of the four girls in the book club. They’re all very different and each dealing with their own problems: Emma is teased for wearing the wrong clothes and has a crush on the coolest guy in school, shy Jess’ mom has left to pursue her career as an actress, Cassidy misses her father and wishes her mom would let her play hockey and Megan is friends with the wrong people and has a mother that wants her to be someone she’s not. It was strange to see the girls when they were younger, especially since Megan was so mean and unlike herself. It was interesting to see the girls as eleven year olds, who haven’t yet become the people they are going to be. With lots of drama to keep things interesting, the book takes place over a yearlong period. The discussion of Little Women wasn’t too sophisticated; you don’t have to read the book to follow the plot in Mother-Daughter Book Club (although there were some spoilers.) I liked how the author incorporated different aspects of Little Women into the story. I know I would have loved these books when I was younger, especially since they talk about books I loved at the time. With Mother’s Day approaching, I was thinking about how so many books portray a negative relationship between mothers and daughters. While the girls do not have a perfect relationship with their moms, it was realistic and overall positive. I really enjoy the books in this series, even if I’m a decade older than the characters. They deal with themes related to growing up while relating their struggles to the books they’re reading. Even over a hundred years later, the lives of the March sisters are still relevant for another group of girls growing up in Concord.