Author: Mia March
The debut novel of Mia March has recently been released, I am thinking that would make it perfectly timed for a northern hemisphere summer, which sums up the setting quite well.
Author Mia March is a big fan of Meryl Streep; for her beauty, her grace, her talent and her range. She is an award-winning actress with over 50 screen roles in movies of many genres that will evoke countless emotional reactions and this novel is a tribute to that talent.
The Meryl Streep Movie Club is written in the third person but still from different perspectives. The prologue was from matriarch Lolly Weller’s point of view as we watched events of fifteen years ago – the events that set the scene for the book while retaining ambiguity. We can sense that there is more going on than is stated but that information comes to us slowly throughout the book; some early on and some not until quite late in the game.
I just need to digress for a moment before I really start because it’s something I keep thinking about. The cover of the book is gorgeous with the beach view and including all the integral aspects of movie night but it’s the format on the inside that kept grabbing my attention. It could just be because I’ve been checking out Flipbacks in all of their tiny cuteness with their almost nonexistent margins and lack of wasted space but this book seemed to be the opposite. The margins seem monumental, almost enough that the space utilised for text would fit comfortably on the smaller format paperbacks and it struck me as a little odd.
But back to the content of the book. My taste in movies generally runs quite a bit darker, I’m more a horror fan, so I haven’t seen many Meryl Streep movies and I think of the 10 in the book I have seen 1 but from what I learnt about them in this book I am much more curious to see them. Having not seen them prior to reading the book didn’t detract from the experience and there was enough information given on movie night that someone who hasn’t seen the movie will get enough of an idea to understand the conversations sparked.
We have multiple POV and 4 integral female characters, virtual strangers though connected by blood who are brought back together in their childhood home for an announcement Lolly needs to make. Kat, Lolly’s daughter, is already present because she is still living in the Three Captains’ Inn. Lolly’s nieces Isabel and June travel in with much of their baggage being the emotional variety, yet still being apprehensive about a return to the Inn. The childhood Kat, June and Isabel shared in the Inn is not one any of them look back on happily. The girls may have shared a home but none of them felt at home there, how will they cope returning in such emotional states now?
These 4 women are in the midst of life-changing events when they are called home by Lolly but would never have thought to band together through their separate issues if not for Lolly’s announcement and wish for them to continue the Friday Night Movie Night and enjoy Meryl Streep month. From the very first night they collect their munchables, watch the movie and then discussion is sparked, discussion that allows new insight into each other for these women; and opens the lines of communication between them.
These 4 women seem to be so different, their situations worlds apart and their experiences isolating them because they try to do what they have always done – retreat rather than share with each other. It is through Meryl Movie nights that they begin to share the life changing positions they are in through conversations sparked by their comments about the movie they watched.
These are characters that make you empathise with them, even if you have never been in their position. There were times I felt my heart break for each of these young women with so much to overcome and so much to learn about themselves.
I loved the differing opinions that arise in conversation after a movie and how that’s what brings about revelations that would never have been made otherwise, revelations that bridge the canyons between these women and help them strengthen the bond they had always been missing.
Not a book I think I would have picked up on my own but one that I found myself totally wrapped up in and cheering on Kat, June and Isabel. I also think I am going to have to chase up some of these movies, the authors descriptions of the points that sparked conversation have intrigued me and I think I will have to watch.