Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Club: June

 (Image from Goodreads)

This month’s book for book club was the Dressmaker by Kate Alcott.  The novel takes place in 1912.  April 15th to be precise, the sinking of the Titanic.  The famous vessel serves as a bridge of sorts between the wealthy and the poor.  This monetary dichotomy is the focal point of the story.

Young Tess, a servant girl with a talent for sewing, gets a passage on the Titanic as a maid of an elite fashion designer Lucile Duff Gordon.  The sinking occurs and Tess and her boss make it out.  But as interviews start happening and inquiries about the ship dig out information, scandalous behavior begins emerging.  Why was Lucile’s boat so empty?  What did she have to do with it?  Plucky reporter Pinky Wade is a rare woman in the journalism field and she is dying for all the good scoops.  Tess even gets herself caught up in a love triangle in the new world.  Women’s rights and the differences between the lives of the wealthy and downtrodden are the moral train pushing the story forward.

Unfortunately, I was unimpressed with the book.  I think the writing was alright, but there wasn’t a single character I wanted to root for, or see have a grand conclusion.  Every character had some part of them that was annoying to me.  The only pleasure I found in the book was the authenticity of the story.  Excerpts from the trials/questionings after the sinking were used and some of the characters were real people.  Other than that, it was too romanticized and the characters were petty in my opinion.

These were the quotes I enjoyed:

“[...] mind you don’t wreck your life with defiance.” pg. 2

“A lady who is willing to stand up for herself has a dignity that will take her a long way.” pg. 33

“These men don’t want to hear anything critical about us or from us.” pg. 102

To me, it was a weak follow up to last month’s Gatsby. But in the world of book club, there’s always another month and another story.

No comments: