There are a lot of people who review books online, but none quite like me. My personalities rarely agree, except on one thing: there’s nothing like opening a crisp new book. Before I get started, some introductions:
Sheila – librarian, type A, constantly bites her lower lip, wears cardigans and glasses on a fine gold chain around her neck. Always has gnawed pencils shoved carelessly through her bun. Threads of grey through her hair. Likes to reread Jane Austen. Never married. Hasn’t been on a date in 13 years. Avoids the Internet.
Cindy – mid-forties, divorced twice. Lives on support payments from her second ex-husband who works in real estate. Says she does yoga, but really has only gone three times. Tries to wait until noon to open the bottle of rosé, but doesn’t always succeed. Thinks people who cut their hair shorter as they age are “giving up”. Has a tabby named Oreo who generally avoids being in the same room as her.
Farah – bohemian. Always wears two scarves. Believes in the power of essential oils. Does not believe in vaccinating children or pets. Sees her tarot card reader before every major life decision, most recently to decide whether she should give up her Instagram account as part of a psychological cleanse. Since her immediate future card was the Queen of Cups, she was advised to continue with her current revenue sources. Today she hit 37k followers after her post about living with a nightshades sensitivity.
Suzanna – mother of three boys: Spencer, Sullivan and Scott. Enjoys making pasta from scratch and healthy soft drinks in her soda stream. Loves buying and selling kids’ items on Kijiji. Most recent purchase was a NIB Spider-Man LEGO set that’s been sold-out in stores. The boys only played with it for 25 mins, but she thinks it was a win anyway. Her husband Neil is an accountant. He’s been having an affair with a woman from work for sixteen months, but Suzanna’s been too busy to notice.
Ray – gay man who only joined the club to protest it being “women’s only”. Never reads the books but does buy them to display on his coffee table. Spends half the time asking irrelevant questions and the other half complaining about the guys on Grindr (as he’s scrolling). Dresses better than anyone in the room. Secretly worries that his arms are too skinny. Favourite Friends character is Ross.
Today’s book review: Michelle Obama’s Becoming
Sheila: alright everyone, let’s get started (claps hands briskly).
Ray: totally. Has anyone seen my phone?
Cindy: who needs a refill? (no one pays attention. She shrugs and fills her wine glass to an unclassy level)
Ray: I had it like two minutes ago.
Sheila: ok, I’ll start. I have to say it really spoke to me as a professional woman.
Farah: I know exactly what you mean. Miche really described the stresses of being a public figure. It’s like her and I have had the exact same experiences.
(no one says anything. Suzanna blinks)
Sheila: right. Did anyone want to comment on the emotions she expressed about being in the political spotlight? How she felt about her words and appearance being used against her? I thought it was so illuminating to hear her reflect on those trying times.
Suzanna: I loved how, no matter what, her priority was keeping as normal a life for her kids as possible. You can tell she’s such a good mother.
Sheila: yes! Thank you Suzanna. I thought that was a strong theme.
Ray: do you think Barack Obama looks like he reverse-aged since leaving the Whitehouse?
Cindy: he’s always been attractive.
Farah: I bet all of the Obamas use lavender oil. It’s been proven to reduce wrinkles.
Sheila: I found it most interesting to hear an inside perspective on the presidency from someone with such class, intelligence and down-to-earth openness. I cried at the end because I was reminded what the world took for granted until November, 2016.
Ray: oh my god, totally. Back then you could still buy cocktails for under $13.
Farah: no silly, that’s when insta-stories became a thing. Made Snapchat redundant even though its filters are waaay better.
Cindy: I’ll be right back, just running out for a smoke break. (Cindy surreptitiously grabs the wine bottle on her way out the door).
Suzanna: weren’t you all shocked that President Obama was a smoker? You’d think of all people, he’d understand the risks.
Sheila: I thought it added dimension to their relationship, that Barack had at least one flaw.
Farah: I heard that cigarette smoke is being used to cleanse the energy of hospital rooms where people have died.
Ray: that can’t be a thing.
Farah: it is! I read it on my friend’s lifestyle blog.
Suzanna: I think cigarettes are disgusting.
Sheila: I think that’s almost enough for tonight. Can we agree on a rating?
Ray: I give the cover photo at least a 4.5. Fierce.
Farah: what’s the points system again?
Sheila: (frowning) 4.5 out of 5 it is. See you all next time.