BOOK CLUB: The Meryl Streep Movie Club

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Author: Mia March
ISBN: 978-1-47110-295-0
RRP: $29.99

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.

meryl streep movie club

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.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Meryl Streep Movie Club

  1. This book revolves around four characters – Lolly Weller, who has cancer, her daughter, Kat, and two nieces, Isabel and June. Lolly’s wish is for them to spend Fridays together watching Meryl Streep movies. So each Friday night is movie night at the Inn, and Lolly has every movie Meryl Streep had ever been in. At first the girls are distant from one another, all caught up in their own woes and troubles, but as each movie is shown week after week, the movies plot and characters give birth to deep and meaningful conversations amongst the three cousins and Lolly. Wrong doings are brought to the surface, fears are revealed, and dreams are shared. Over bowls of buttery popcorn and cupcakes, they learn to trust one another, and eventually learn to trust in themselves as well.

    I have to admit when I was asked if I wanted to review this I thought it sounded great – an Oscar winner, movies and a club what wasn’t to like! However I wasn’t prepared for the in depth meaning each Meryl Streep film would give to the book! I have to say I was surprised but in a good way! The book includes the movies:

    The Bridges Of Madison County
    The Devil Wears Prada
    Mamma Mia!
    Defending Your Life
    Kramer Vs. Kramer
    Postcards From The Edge
    It’s Complicated
    Out Of Africa
    Julie and Julia

    Each Meryl Streep movie holds a lesson for at least one of the girls and represents the situation they are currently going through. The movies are the backdrop for the rest of the book and in turn I found a very clever and insightful piece of literature although a bit over the top in parts and a little unbelievable. It is a great story of self discovery and family strength.

    The trick to enjoying the book is to not over read. Before I started reading the book I was unsure if I was going to enjoy it as I am not the biggest Streep fan on earth but I do think she is a great talent. However, not long into reading, I fell in love with the story!
    You don’t need to be a huge Streep fan to pick up and enjoy this book, but it does help if you have seen the movies, as the novel contains spoilers, which I learnt along the way, as I hadn’t seen all these movies.

    This would be a fun book club read and discussion. You could even show one of the movies each week before discussing a particular part of the book, but don’t forget the popcorn!

  2. I LOVED this book! I read it within two days. I found the characters very absorbing, I loved the storyline and could relate to certain traits of each character. I am not a huge Meryl Streep fan either but having said that, I still enjoyed this book thoroughly! I loved the close bond that the characters develop and I also enjoyed reading how they each try to overcome their personal struggles. I would definitely recommend this book; I think it is a very good book to choose for a book club book, or to give as a gift to a girlfriend. Many thanks for the opportunity to review this; I will be passing it on to my sister to read too!

  3. I was really surprised by how affecting I found this novel. Obviously I offered to read it thinking I’d probably enjoy it; but I hadn’t expected to so moved by it.

    Also surprisingly, it was June’s story that I found most moving – despite the fact that her experience is probably furtherest removed from my own life. And despite the fact that I really dislike the literary device of a girl getting pregnant the same time she loses her virginity. Yes, I know it does happen, but I bet if you counted every time it happened in fiction that number would far exceed the number of times it’s happened in real life. Ever.

    Anyway, even though it hit on one of my personal bugbears, I was very moved by June’s search for her son’s father and the outcome of that. This was the storyline I was most eager to follow; I was particularly happy when the chapters came back to June’s “turn” and I could find out a little more.

    On the whole this was a really interesting story of women who face dilemmas similar to those many women face at one time or another. Okay, their background was a bit more fraught than average, but affairs, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, an unfulfilled desire for children, family conflicts… so very familiar. March does a good job of drawing vivid and individual characters and then allowing them to deal with familiar problems in a sensitive and realistic way.

    The device of watching Meryl Streep movies to illustrate elements of their lives was okay; March used this well though I could probably have taken it or left it. I thought the real strengths of the book lay in the strong characters and the easy but involving writing style. And a plot that is sad but also optimistic and positive.

    I really enjoyed this novel, and suspect that most readers would find it hard to resist. It pulls you in quickly, and keeps you turning the pages, keen to find out what the three viewpoint characters do next.

  4. I cannot believe that this wonderful book is the authors first. It is written with such warmth, understanding, passion. This is one of those stories that will stick with me for a long long time, I absolutely LOVED the book from front to back. From the first chapters I was wanting to know more about the 4 main characters that the book revolves around; Kat, Lolly, Isabel and June. I was touched with the sad beginnings and the loss that these girls had to go through so early on in life, they each lost somebody. But instead of coming together and being each others’ support they ran away from everything they knew. They lead their own separate lives in denial of each other, only coming together when they felt obligated to do so, until one day the “Mother” of the 3 girls invited them all to come back to their childhood home, the Three Captains’ Inn that Lolly owned. Lolly broke devastating news to them, she has Pancreatic Cancer, this moment in the book is the turning point for each character, the point where they begin their own journeys back to each other, back to family and home. Their journeys are also shaped by the different Meryl Streep movies that they watch together, Lolly is a massive fan of Meryl, much like myself, I too have watched all of her movies in complete admiration for her abundance of talent. The circumstances that each girl goes through in this story is so believable and I could relate to many of the events from first-hand experience. I cried, I laughed, I got frustrated, I loved and I didn’t want the story to end. I felt I really got to know Lolly, Kat, Isabel and June. This is a beautifully written story.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming book .Admittedly when I first started reading I thought maybe it wasnt for me but as the 4 main characters came together, (Kat , Lolly Isabel and June )I became enthralled in each ones life story that had brought them to this time and place.
    All ending up back at their childhood home , they begin to find each other again through relating the things that have happened and are happening in their lives to the Meryl Streep movies that they are watching.
    While not something I would normally read I was pleasantly suprised how much I immersed myself in each characters story and the 4 womens lives . A great book by Mia March that I would definitely recommend to others very enjoyable .Thanks for the opportunity to read this Beauty and Lace

  6. I found this book to be one that really pulled at my heart strings.
    Like so many people my family have been touched with cancer and so as soon as that word is mentioned all those memories come flooding to the surface so that began my emotional involvement when one of the main characters in the book, Lolly calls for a gathering of her family members and announces that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and things dont look good for her. Understandably her daughter Kat and two nieces June and Isabel are in shock and each person has to find their own way of dealing with the news while also coping with the other dramas that are occuring in their life.
    Lolly very much admires Meryl Streep and so its the Meryl Streep movies that guide us through the story of these four woman which i found to be a really interesting and differant concept.
    This book made me want to view all the movies again
    The story shows you that even though each person was focused on the fact that Lolly was very sick it didnt mean that life stopped for everyone else. Each person still has there own trials going on as well and that sometimes we just dont know whats going on in others lives to make them act the way they do.
    I loved this book and feel it would be wonderful to give to someone along with the matching movies on dvd. Especially great for someone that might be recovering from an illness or surgery.
    I wish this book had been about a few months ago.
    Certainly worth a read.

  7. Thank you so much for the opportunity to review another wonderful book! I can never get enough reading time and I am always having my head buried in some kind of novel. 🙂

    I haven’t ever read a book like this one, which I love as some books can be quite predictable and once the book is finished can be disappointing. BUT, this book was far from those things! I loved every, word, every page & every chapter!

    I have never been a huge fan of Meryl Streep or anything, but have always had respect for her as an actress and have always thought of her as talented and timeless.

    Out of all the movies mentioned in this novel, I have only seen two of them, but I am now very keen to see the rest! In saying that, that didn’t seem to really matter much when reading and understanding what was going on in the story.

    I really feel in the love and felt the emotions of the characters in the book and loved discovering each ones story.

    A fantastic read that I think would appeal to a broad range of women that I will be recommending to my family and friends.

    The cover art on the novel is also a stand out and beautifully depicted with detail and colour that blends completely with the story inside.

    Thanks again B&L! I’m looking forward to more novels from this author, she’s fantastic! 🙂

  8. You don’t have to know much about Meryl Streep to love this book nor need to have seen the movies (though it could make it more enjoyable). I myself didn’t really know who she is and I have seen perhaps only one or two of the movies discussed in the book but it is nice for the book to be based around this kind of theme, that draws the three(four) main characters together from their entirely seperate lives.

    I loved how the chapters alternated between characters so we got an insight into each of the three girls lives and their view on different events rather than just one. The prologue written from Lollys perspective was also very insightful.The whole book got me thinking a lot and there were a lot of moments like that, where the girls were in thought about some big life question or situation and it made me think too.

    I found that I really enjoyed this book, and couldn’t wait for the time to come each night when I could read some more. It was one of those books I found hard to put down. The end of most chapters nearly always ended on something big that you didn’t know before but then the next chapters were by the other characters so you had to keep waiting to find out!

    Honestly when I finished this book last night I was sad. Not because of the ending, because the ending was actually quite happy and really not what you would expect if you only read the first few. I was sad because the book was over, and I just wanted to keep reading about their lives for a lot longer! I want to know what Kat ends up doing in her future, and how Isabel and June go. I think that says it is a great book when you begin to love the characters and after the book wonder what they are doing now as if they are real!

    Thankyou Beauty and Lace, and even more so thankyou to Mia March for a great… please keep writing 🙂

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