I've never been in a book club before. Yesterday was a first for me, and now I'm thinking 'why have I waited this long?'.
We met up at Miriam's place. The three of us sat around Miriam's coffee table - the book sitting in the middle of us all. I could see that Miriam had dog eared some pages. This intrigued me...What was her take on those parts?
Liz was able to remember the Nigerian-Biafran war which the book was based on. "I was six years old and I went to London with Dad and I remember seeing the posters of the children in the refugee camps." She remembers asking her father why the children in the poster didn't have any food and not understanding why they couldn't just send some over. A unique insight for Miriam and me.
Miriam read aloud a passage from one of her dog eared pages, "there are some things that are so unforgivable that they make other things easily forgivable." She shares her interpretation of this passage, "For me this means that Kainene could forgive her sister because on the grand scale of things, it didn't seem so important."
I similarly could forgive Kainene's sister, but I differed on the matter of forgiveness when it came to Odenigbo, "he betrayed her, and he never truly apologised because he expected to be forgiven!"
Liz had another take, "they didn't take it all that seriously in those days. Is it really such a big deal?"
Our conversation carried on like that all night only with brief interruptions from the delivery guy and Steve, Miriam's husband, popping in and out of the conversation. After each interruption I was excited to get back to those dog eared pages so that we could all share our thoughts.
What I loved about my first book club experience was that I got to hear what other people are thinking. I'm curious to know what's going on inside other people's minds. As a child, I used to dream of existing inside the minds of others to know what they were thinking, or I used to imagine what it would be like to live a day in the life of a stranger I saw on the bus. This book club meeting showed me a window into minds of others. We have a shared experience of reading the same text, but we all have our different perspectives based on our distinct prior experiences. One single passage from the book can produce three varying interpretations - and I get to hear the inner thoughts of others voiced aloud.