On Thursday, May 9th, the Fixed on Fiction Book Group met to discuss the book The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon. Here are a few of the comments made during the meeting:
Everyone who attended commented how much they disliked the book. Even though the premise of the book was promising, everyone was disappointed by the telling of the story. Most of us had trouble in following the dialogue and could not distinguish who was talking when.
The group felt that Miranda and Adam would never have ended up together; there were too many differences. Miranda and Adam were considered outsiders at school and it was more likely that they were in love with the idea of being in love, or the idea of having someone in their life. No one could imagine Miranda as the wife who gave up everything so her husband could focus on his art.
Some of us admired Valerie for having to put up with her mother-in-law and for having to take care of her husband. The group was not happy about Miranda and Adam’s attitude toward Valerie, and we laughed about Miranda’s reaction to the idea that someone may not have liked her.
We talked about going to class reunions and seeing old classmates or old crushes. Most of the group said that they kept in touch with who they wanted to keep in touch with and that reunions were not necessary.
We talked about Rome, and a few of the group members had already been there. We thought Adam made a good tour guide since he was familiar with Rome and had a good grasp of the language. We looked through some books on Rome that had statues by Bernini that Adam talked about.
The contradiction in the book was mentioned regarding Miranda telling Adam that she was a vegetarian and then later in the story eating peppered meat, boar, and clams.
We talked about Adam’s son and the reasons for his attitude towards his father. We realized that Adam thought it might have been better if his son was never born, and this attitude, along with the fact that Adam did not love Beverly, could have been the underlying cause for his son’s attitude toward his father and toward life.
Some of the group thought that Adam’s betrayal was harder to forgive because of the existence of the baby. Sleeping with someone once could be forgiven but a baby is not something that can be forgotten.
Most of the group liked Adam more than they liked Miranda, and they thought that the 1960-70s era was more interesting and brought some relief from the stories of their daily walks in Rome.
The group thought that meeting again gave Adam and Miranda a degree of closure. They both seemed to have made peace with the choices that they made in their lives, Miranda more so than Adam, but both seemed happy in their present marriage.
These are just a few of the comments made during our discussion. Please feel free to add any thoughts in the comments section.