All my life I’ve been a voracious reader. I read absolutely everything, starting with the newspaper in the morning over my hot tea and Greek yogurt. I have a magazine addiction (Yes, I live for People arriving on a Friday afternoon and hunker down with it and a glass of wine). I also read in many different genres. I love my happily ever after romances, but I also enjoy thrillers (be they legal, medical, or adventures), biographies, and many books off the NY Times best seller list.
Recently, I’ve joined a book club—my first ever. I’d always wanted to and found the opportunity to become a Book Worm. It’s a lovely group of women, and they have pulled me from my comfort zone. Instead of gravitating toward my typical authors (David Baldacci, Steven Berry, Stuart Woods, Mary Jo Putney, Diana Gabaldon, and the likes), members have chosen books I’ve either never heard of or probably would never have picked up, given the choice. I thank my fellow Book Worms for expanding my horizons and broadening my reading tastes!
Our December selection was Katie Hafner’s Mother Daughter Me, which I’d highly recommend to any woman. A journalist by trade, Hafner was in her 50s and living with her teenage daughter (her husband had died unexpectedly from a heart attack a few years previously) when she asked her mother to move in with them (As one Book Worm put it, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”) . Now it would be hard for any family unit to change by bring in a woman in her 70s and set in her ways, but Hafner hadn’t lived with her mom since she’d been removed from her care over 40 years earlier, due to neglect by this alcoholic mother. Talk about dynamics—3 women. 1 small house. A multitude of feelings.Yes, let the fur fly!
Hafner’s memoir focuses on the brief, just short of a year that these females lived together. While Hafner wanted to start anew and build a fresh relationship with her elderly parent, the baggage from the past came roaring back. Add teenage hormones to the mix, and you have a formula for disaster. Then factor in that Katie started dating a new man? You have to read it to believe it.
My book group had a terrific discussion about the book (and the brunch before was to DIE for—especially the French toast casserole), but the highlight of our time together came when we Skyped with the author for half an hour from her home in San Francisco. Technology still amazes me at times, and to have a group of 15 women visiting with an author was a thrill. Katie was gracious, quick-witted, and very cordial as she talked about her experiences during what she called her “Year in Provence” (SO not!) and what’s happened since the book was published. Not to ruin it for anyone, but she did have a ring on her left hand and seems very happy in her personal life!
I appreciate the time she took to share her life with us. As an author myself, I know how time-consuming writing can be. And yes, I felt like a Fan Girl Groupie as we all gathered around the TV and asked her our questions. Even when we had technical difficulties and she disappeared, we were able to call right back and continue our discussion.
It might have been a small thing in Katie’s life to speak with our club, but it’s an experience I’ll always treasure. Not something that could be bought—simply a gift of her time with us. I hope in the future I’ll always be generous with my time—whether it’s with my own mother, my daughter, or my fellow Book Worms!