Did I tell you I???ve joined a second book club? Well I have, and it???s a fabulous group of women. We???re calling ourselves ???The Vicious Circle??? and you can check out what we???re up to here.

Our first read was Shadow Tag????by Louise Erdrich. ??Irene regularly visits her local bank to record her thoughts in the Blue Notebook, stashed in a safe deposit box. At home, she writes in the Red Journal, a hidden diary she knows is being read by her controlling husband Gil. In the Red Journal, Irene fabricates her life to manipulate her husband: she describes the moment she fell out of love with Gil (he???s a big believer in defining moments); she invents three different fathers of their children. As Irene and Gil???s relationship becomes increasingly violent and hurtful, their children suffer the consequences: fourteen-year-old Florian copes with booze and pot; eleven-year-old Riel plans for the coming apocalypse; sweet six-year-old Stoney creeps into his siblings??? beds for comfort. Irene plots to leave with her children, but is stymied by alcoholism and lassitude.????

The book club met last night, and we had pretty mixed reactions to Shadow Tag. Most of us agreed it is well-written, but the characters are just so unlikable it???s really hard to give a shit about them. And we all hated the names of the children. I mean, Stoney–seriously?

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I liked the book. I found it darkly compelling and thought the co-dependent dynamics between husband and wife were pretty interesting. I learned later that there are some autobiographical elements to the novel, and I wish I???d known that when I started reading.

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See Bronwyn???s video intro to the book here.

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Browse inside the book here.

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