After a week of torrential rain storms in the area, the sun came out and greeted U.S. G.I.R.L.S. for our Spring meeting. Ardee "Dee" selected Brett's Waterway Cafe in Historic Fernandina Beach as our venue for the meeting. The location was breathtaking and the city was filled with the sights and sounds of Spring.
Once all members and guests arrived, Dee called the meeting to order. After presenting Ann with a gift for being the 1st to RSVP; Dee began by telling the group why she selected Michele Waters' Through The Eyes Of My Mulatto Daughter as our April read. Dee explained that she read this novel several years ago and was intrigued with the theme of domestic violence, and how this topic is so relevant. She also discussed how she read other books with this theme, and felt it was time to bring it to this group of women for a "real time" discussion.
After asking Karen to offer up a blessing, appetizers were ordered and we began unraveling Brittany's tale. Dee began our book talk with race relations and racism. Was Brittany too quick to think her father was racist? There were many opinions about this questions, however all agreed that Brittany's father was a racist. The main disconnect came when the group discussed, just when did Richard become a racist. Was he born that way, did he grow into a racist? Did the death of his father trigger it somehow?
Karen talked about Marilyn's reservations in leaving her abusive relationship. Marilyn built her life around her husband and felt she had no other place to go (even though Brittany offered her a place to stay). Celeste told of a "real life" situation where she met a women while she was in college in Columbus, GA who openly told the class that she was in an abusive relationship, but had no place to go. Even though this was over 20 year ago, we agreed that we may have been inclined to call 911. Celeste was swift to remind us that the shelters and resources that are available today for domestic violence victims were not as accessible in the mid 80's.
Matthew, Matthew, Matthew... what can I say? We all agreed that Matthew was an excellent suitor for Brittany, but some members felt he acted too emotionally when he left after confessing his love and she questioned his motives. Some members felt he was hurt and Brittany deserved the coolness that he gave her when she ran after him in her nightgown.
Each meeting, there seems to be a controversial question that evokes passion and evolves into a "HOT TOPIC"; and this meeting was no different: When Dee asked if a racist person can fall in love with someone of another race, the group was divided. Many felt, "one" could; offering up reasons and analogies such as people who were homophobic etc... Others felt that no matter how a racist may say that they have changed, there will be a time, when racism will once again "rear" its ugly head. The group agreed to disagree, and that is what a good book club is all about...differing points of view!
When Dee asked if we liked or disliked the book, we all agreed that there were many themes in the book, and some did not seem to be relevant to the overall plot or motive of the book. We felt that maybe the book should have been divided into 2 or 3 different novels. The story of Marilyn and Richard as young lovers may have assisted us in discerning the turning point when Richard became violent. Had they sought counseling at the onset, maybe the outcome would have been different. We also would like to have seen more of a development of Jerome and Jaden's characters, as well as more of the actual intimacy between Brittany and Matthew vs. the implied intimacy. Dee selected a very relevant read that made everyone think.
Thank you, Dee for bringing U.S. G.I.R.L.S. "Through The Eyes Of My Mulatto Daughter," in lovely Historic Fernandina Beach!