To be fair, I knew we weren't going to discuss the book. I don't know why I whined about it. I knew last night would be different.
Instead, we talked about Jo. Not a famous literary Jo, the book group Jo who would have turned 69 last week. She died of cancer two weeks ago. Most of us didn't know Jo that well. I liked Jo; she had a good sense of humor. She could always cajole us into enjoying a look at even more pictures of her grandkids. She helped found the book group 7 or 8 years ago and talked two of her close friends into joining. But she was a generation apart and lived across the lake; our paths didn't cross much.
For her long-time friend K --- a different story. K was with Jo last Spring when she confronted the doctor with the tough question "How much time to I have?" And heard the answer, "Six months." K saw Jo almost every day after that. So K came last night and cryed and shared and laughed and we talked about Jo and about life and death.
Book-related moment: Of the seven members attending, only two of us had read the whole book recently enough to remember it. As K talked I was struck by how much this month's book selection was appropriate. I encouraged K and the rest to read the book and suggested we discuss it next month. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years is a children's book, the Newbery Award winner for 1930. It's the first-person memoir of a doll who is, unsurprisingly, over a century old. She speaks of her adventures, her various owners, the passage of time, of fate, of loss, of acceptance, of simply being. I think it would honor Jo to read it with her memory in mind.
When I mentioned this, the other woman who'd read the book asked "What book did you read? I just read a story about a doll!" (sigh)