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Holiday Book Club Wrap-Up – “Sweet Tooth”

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Happy New Year, Book Clubbers! We hope your holiday break gave you a chance to finish the last read of 2012. We got together right before everyone parted ways to take a bite out of Sweet Tooth, our final selection for our inaugural book club year!

To honor two of the characters, we opened a bottle of white wine and sat down for some afternoon nibbles.

Click here to find out what we thought, but read on ONLY if you’ve read the book…

Sweet Tooth was a bit of a complex book to discuss, because right as you  reach the ending, McEwan throws you for a loop. We’ve assumed the entire time that we’re reading a narration from Serena’s point of view, but by the time we finished, we weren’t certain if it was her story, a construct from Tom Haley, or a version from both of them.

  • McEwan weaves a gorgeous and lithe tale, with gems of prose interspersed in a very compelling story. His portrayal (or Haley’s portrayal) of a young woman in 1970s London is both gritty and unrealistic. Serena never fully acknowledges the situations she finds herself in, and is cavalier with the opportunities granted to her. Some of us found Serena to be a little one-dimensional, and a bit of a unreliable narrator.
  • There were some plot diversions we could have done without, or at least wanted more follow through on. Serena has a whole escapade at a safe-house that leads to nowhere, and is wrapped up tidily without ever really impacting the plot.
  • At the end of the day, we found it didn’t really matter where Serena’s story fell in line with reality (or the fictional reality McEwan spun for us), because her finale with Tom gave us the freedom to imagine all the different routes that could have taken. Did she meet up with Tom to start fresh, and write down their memoirs? Was the entire story a figment of Tom’s brain?

We finished our book club with maybe a few more questions than when we started, but most certainly enjoyed the read, and the lively conversation. What did you think when you got to the end?

Check back in tomorrow to find out what we’re reading in January!

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