Sunday, August 21, 2005

My First Bookclub Meeting!!!

One of my goals this year was to find a good book club in Atlanta. Although the year is half over, it's never too late to tackle this goal. Yesterday, I fought horrible Atlanta traffic to attend my first book club meeting in Decatur at the Wesley Chapel Road Decatur Library. The name of the book club is Circle of Friends II (Atlanta Chapter). I found out about this well established book club while attending the National Black Book Club Conference earlier this month. The book of choice for the month of August was Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage. I already had a signed copy of this book (I read it a month ago), so I thought this would be the best time to go to a meeting.

Babylon Sisters is the story of Catherine Sanderson, a single mother with a socially conscious career helping immigrant women find jobs in Atlanta. Her daugther Phoebe, who is seventeen or eighteen at the time, is about to graduate high school and head off to college. But there is just one problem: Catherine has been keeping the identity of Phoebe's father a secret, and has weaved a complicated web of lies to carry this out. Phoebe gets a little bold and starts using a lot of tactics to figure out who her father is, much to her mother's dismay. At the same time, Catherine takes on a new client, Mandeville Maid Services, that wants to use her expertise for staffing a housekeeping business with immigrant women. The problem is that Mandeville Maid Services, headed by housekeeper turned tycoon Ezola Mandeville, is not all that it is cracked up to be. Soon, Phoebe goes off to college, and Catherine gets a call from Phoebe's father, B.J. Johnson, a famous newspaper correspondent. He needs her help with a story he's investigating involving female slavery in the city of Atlanta. The problem is, B.J., who has been living in Africa, doesn't know he has a daughter with Catherine. So the story goes on from there...

My thoughts on the book?? I enjoyed it. It was a nice page turner. I like books that have very interesting subplots layered into an overall main plot, and that is exactly what the book Babylon Sisters offers. This book examined the delicate relationships between mothers and daughters, and the burdens associated with keeping secrets. It was also an examination of the plight of young women immigrants who are preyed upon when seeking to settle down in Atlanta. +

Now back to the Book club meeting: The best thing about this meeting was that the author Pearl Cleage, who lives in Southwest Atlanta, was in attendance. Pearl Cleage, a self-proclaimed sixties child and feminist, talked about how she came to write this book and her favorite parts of the book. She also talked about issues involving community responsibility. She discussed her three previous novels, and her forthcoming novel, Baby Brother's Blues, which is slated for release next year. She did an excellent job of answering members questions about all of her books.

Overall, it was a very good meeting. It had a spiritual tone, something that I really liked but did not expect at all, and everyone was very nice and helpful. And they had some good food too(meatballs, chicken, wraps, fruit...oh my!)! It also turns out that this particular book club has a characteristic that I was looking for: they are highly active in the community.

Will I attend next month's meeting. You bet I will. I may even join!


  1. Anonymous2:05:00 AM

    Ladylee glad you enjoyed the book club meeting. The book sounds very interesting and I may pick up a copy of her book.

  2. To my mind one and all ought to look at this.


Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!