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#bestbuddyread
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jenniferw88
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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I may not have finished the book, but this was my impression of the first two chapters. #bestbuddyread #galentinesbuddyread @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

Cinfhen Hahaha 🤣 exactly 🙌🏻💕 2y
BarbaraBB A lot of fake in the book indeed!! 2y
AmyG Ha! 2y
Cathythoughts Good one 👍🏻 2y
68 likes4 comments
review
KVanRead
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Pickpick

So glad I joined the #bestbuddyread — I absolutely loved this. I thought her writing was fantastic, masterful. I became completely engrossed in the characters, even the ones I hated like Norine and Harald. Such a revealing look at women‘s lives (a select group of women) at a time in history I have no desire to revisit. This was no doubt sensational at the time but it does not romanticize or pull punches. 5⭐️
Photo = Vassar Daisy Chain see link⤵️

BarbaraBB Wow, a five star read! I am glad you enjoyed it so much and value your opinion in this review and our discussion. 🤍 2y
BarbaraBB And that picture is fantastic, it‘s Kay‘s wedding as I imagined it! 2y
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KVanRead @BarbaraBB It does look like a wedding but it‘s actually the Vassar Daisy Chain! (edited) 2y
Cinfhen Photo is fabulous! Great review 💕So glad you enjoyed the book ~ looking forward to our next BuddyRead 2y
BarbaraBB That‘s awesome. 2y
49 likes6 comments
review
AnneCecilie
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Pickpick

I didn‘t know anything about this before I started reading it, and we didn‘t get a good start. In the forward it was compared to Sex and the City and I‘m not a fan of that show. I watched 11 ep of the first season and got so mad that I had to stop watching. And that first page in the book, I really didn‘t like the writing style there. The first chapter was a little confusing introducing all the characters. (Cont in comments)

AnneCecilie But after that the book started to focus on one of the girls at the time and you got to know them and their different situations and hopes. And I got sucked into the story. I basically read the entire book over the weekend. I can absolutely see that this book was controversial when it came out. 2y
BarbaraBB You made it in time for the discussion! Glad it was a pick! 🤍 2y
55 likes1 stack add3 comments
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BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Question 6 of 6
#Galentine #BestBuddyRead

vlwelser I actually like the time period this takes place in. Because of the clothes. 2y
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TrishB I‘m rocking up in 1485 to save Richard III 😁 2y
DebinHawaii I was totally vibing on all of the food descriptions in the book—so many weird & wonderful cocktails & those “minced sea clams, the new canned kind, on toast” & salmon loaf with creamed pickle sauce. It may come as no surprise that most of my notes are food-related.🤷🏻‍♀️Anyway, I think New York in the 20s-50s would be fun for the cultural (& food) history. (edited) 2y
DebinHawaii BTW—in case you are worried, I am not saying most of the food sounded good but I love funky retro recipes & drinks! 😉 2y
BarbaraBB @DebinHawaii I was thinking of you while reading those recipes 👩‍🍳 2y
Cinfhen I noticed the food descriptions too @DebinHawaii @BarbaraBB and of course you are @TrishB I picture you as a Joan of Arc hellraiser 2y
Cinfhen I agree the 1920‘s 1930‘s NY scene is pretty cool @vlwelser I‘m thinking like Long Island and the Great Gatsby 2y
Cinfhen Although, I wouldn‘t mind hanging out with Cleopatra 2y
BarbaraBB I‘d like to hang out in Paris with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre. 2y
TrishB Or I‘d also like to be a suffragette and be the first woman MP 😁 2y
TrishB @Cinfhen yes please 😁 2y
DebinHawaii And thank you for hosting another fun buddy read @Cinfhen & @BarbaraBB ! I didn‘t love the book (or read the whole thing quite yet!) but I enjoyed the festivities. 🤗🎉 Also, if anyone has Amazon Prime, I watched the movie last night as it‘s free on & I thought they did a pretty good job with it. (Great fashion @vlwelser !) (edited) 2y
Cinfhen Thanks for joining us @DebinHawaii always fun to catch-up with you xxx 2y
Cinfhen Ahhh, that is definitely your calling 💪🏼 @trishb 2y
TrishB @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB thanks again for an entertaining weekend 😘❤️ look forward to the next! 2y
CarolynM Hm, I'll have to think about that one! Thanks for hosting this weekend party Barbara and Cindy😘😘 @cinfhen (edited) 2y
Cinfhen Always a pleasure friends @TrishB @CarolynM 2y
Kalalalatja That‘s a tough question! In some ways, I wouldn‘t mind spending some time in London‘s high class society in the era of Jane Austen. Mostly because I want to go to all the balls 😂 but considering women had no rights, I would only stay for a short visit 2y
i.besteph Based on just my great uncle‘s stories from the past, I would‘ve loved to live in the 70s. I‘d go all out, complete with bell bottoms and a huge Afro to match 😂 Also because being a colored person myself, it‘d seem right to visit a time where I‘d be accepted 😅 (edited) 2y
Cinfhen Hahaha @I.be.Stef I wouldn‘t mind hitting Studio 54 💃🏽🕺🏼💃🏽🕺🏼💃🏽great answer 2y
i.besteph Thank you @Cinfhen and @BarbaraBB for hosting the #bestbuddyread! Even though personally the book wasn‘t my favorite (I‘m still reading it) I‘m glad to have read something from a completely different time. I‘ve never been more glad to be in 2021 now 😂 I‘d be down to join some of your other challenges if you host one later. 🙌🏽 (edited) 2y
i.besteph @Cinfhen oooh absolutely! 🙌🏽💯 2y
peaknit I think I‘m abandoning the book, the long chapters and my current attention span cannot make peace. I‘d head back Marty McFly style and meet my parents in highschool. 2y
TheBookHippie @Cinfhen Cleopatra is it for me. 2y
Kimberlone I was busy this weekend and didn‘t really get a chance to take part in the Galentine‘s festivities, and since I have read this book before (it was okay), I didn‘t really feel like re-reading. This is the one discussion question I feel like I can contribute to though...I would absolutely love to have experienced the music and culture of the 1960s/70s...to have heard the Beatles for the first time would have been a revelation! 2y
LeahBergen @DebinHawaii I was so into the food descriptions in this book, too! 😆 2y
LeahBergen Ancient Egypt? Regency England? The 1920s “Bright Young Things” era of Cecil Beaton? And of course I would need to be fabulously wealthy and not drop dead of the first illness I contract. 2y
KVanRead @vlwelser LOVE the clothes 😍😍😍 2y
KVanRead @DebinHawaii The food and cocktails really intrigued me too! I love looking at weird recipes in old cookbooks - but not actually making any of it! LOL I love that she includes all those kinds of details, more so than male writers of that era did, I think. 2y
KVanRead There are so many time periods I‘d love to visit for the clothes and the historical figures I would want to chat with, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Van Gogh, but since they all pretty much suck for women, like @Kalalalatja I wouldn‘t want to stick around. Maybe the future (a hopefully Covid free, feminist and inclusive future 🤞🏽) would be the place I‘d like to visit. Thanks so much @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB this has been so much fun!! (edited) 2y
KVanRead @LeahBergen Fabulously wealthy and healthy would be key!! 2y
rubyslippersreads @TrishB I‘ll go with you! 👑 2y
rubyslippersreads @DebinHawaii Are you going to make “salmon wiggle”? 😄 2y
TrishB @LeahBergen you can still have all the vaccinations 😁 2y
TrishB @rubyslippersreads cool 😎👍🏻 2y
rubyslippersreads @DebinHawaii I enjoyed the movie too. But some of the actresses looked enough alike that I still had trouble telling who was who. 2y
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen Is it cheating if you bring antibiotics? 😂 2y
rubyslippersreads I‘d like to be a first-class passenger on the Titanic (complete with trunks of fashionable frocks). I‘ll just be sure to leave right after afternoon tea on April 14. 😏 2y
rubyslippersreads Thanks so much for organizing this, @Cinfhen and @BarbaraBB 😊 This is a much nicer group than the Group in the book. 2y
DebinHawaii @rubyslippersreads I am considering it. The creamed pickle sauce sold me! 😋🤣 2y
DebinHawaii @rubyslippersreads Hah! Very good point! I was watching while reading & it was a bit of a challenge! 2y
DebinHawaii @LeahBergen @KVanRead Maybe we need a retro cookbook/weird recipes group! 😉 2y
CarolynM OMG!! @LeahBergen The food descriptions were disgusting!! 2y
KVanRead @DebinHawaii Love that idea! 2y
rubyslippersreads @DebinHawaii Nicky and Sadie think this recipe involves me serving them a live, wiggling salmon. 😹 2y
Cupcake12 I‘d love to be to have gone back in Tudor time with Queen Elizabeth reigning. The costumes, the societal extravagance but would take my toothbrush as they used coal! 2y
Centique @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB thanks for hosting guys! It was so fun 😊 Sorry I‘m super late with comments as always! 2y
Centique @DebinHawaii I am up for any retro food dishes/challenges you may think of @LeahBergen @KVanRead 🤪the historical food mentions were so fun in this. God they loved canned food didn‘t they?!! 2y
BarbaraBB @rubyslippersreads @Centique @KVanRead @I.be.Stef @CarolynM @TrishB @DebinHawaii Thank you for adding so much to the book and the weekend. Hope you‘ll join again for #HolidayEscape in June! 2y
35 likes1 stack add52 comments
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BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Question 5 of 6
#Galentine #Bestbuddyread

AmyG Good for Lakey. She lived the life she wanted. I do think there is a good chance Kay killed herself. The story around her death was just so very odd. Was I surprised? I wasn‘t. Things happen in life with any group of people. If anything, I felt saddenned. (edited) 2y
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vlwelser I wish she had spent more time on Lakey because I found her the most interesting. 2y
vlwelser Regarding Kay, ugh. I'm not sure I even cared about her by the end. It does sort of bookend the book nicely though. 2y
squirrelbrain I agree that Kay probably did kill herself, but I think we knew her least out of all of the girls by the end, so it didn‘t really impact much. 2y
DebinHawaii Yes, for all of the attention in the book to Kay, it was mostly looking externally at her & I felt like I knew very little about her character other than the surface. So I‘m not sure about suicide or not but certainly could see it. (And full disclosure, I skipped some middle chapters!) Lakey is the one I wanted to hear more about too @vlwelser 2y
BarbaraBB McCarthy made clear that Kay couldn‘t live up to her own expectations of life. All was disappointing and Kay hid behind appearances. The ending of her life was in line with her character, whether it was an accident or not. 2y
Cinfhen Agreed @vlwelser it was interesting to start with Kay‘s wedding and end with her funeral. I‘m not sure if she killed herself but that one mother ( I can‘t recall her name) was so adamant about protecting Kay‘s reputation, even in death. She wanted to make sure there would be no scandal around Kay and by extension the rest of the group. 2y
Cinfhen That mother was all about appearances 🙄 2y
Cinfhen Lackey was awesome but she hardly played any role in the story. It was interesting to see the girls reactions when they understood Lakey‘s countess was more than just a friend. 2y
CarolynM I thought it was interesting that Lakey was the one they all gravitated around but she was also the elusive one - she was literally not there during the years of the book, but I felt like she'd barely been there during the college years too. They didn't really know her. The revelation of her sexuality at the end illustrated that. Maybe also they were kind of envious of her. Her sexuality may have added to the envy - she could do without men. 2y
i.besteph I‘ll have to come back to this question cuz I‘m not there yet! 😅 Also....what?? Poor Kay 2y
Cinfhen Uh oh.... spoiler alert @I.be.Stef 🙊🙊🙊 2y
BarbaraBB @I.be.Stef it‘s an open ending, please let this not ruin the book for you 🙏 2y
rubyslippersreads Kay‘s death and funeral seemed like an excuse to bring the Group back together. I think Kay might have died accidentally, but also took chances (leaning way out the window while drinking) because she didn‘t care if she lived or died. 2y
i.besteph @BarbaraBB No worries! Actually it helps to be prepared for what is to come ☺️ 2y
rubyslippersreads @Cinfhen @vlwelser Also, if Kay‘s death had been ruled a suicide, she would not have been able to have the type of religious service and burial she had once expressed a preference for. 2y
Cinfhen That‘s true @rubyslippersreads about both her lack of concern for life and not having a catholic burial if it was suicide 2y
TheBookHippie @vlwelser I agree with everything you‘ve said. 2y
LeahBergen I really felt that it was a suicide and she herself was complicit in making it look at that way. She was so driven by appearances and the opinion of others. But, 🤷🏻‍♀️? 2y
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen @cinfhen Without spoiling the movie, I will say it makes it clear what happened. 2y
Cupcake12 Personally I wasn‘t surprised....as one of the more complicated characters to follow she was always battling herself. I still don‘t know whether to think accident or suicide. I would have liked to read and find out about Lakey‘s experience un daily life and how this was dealt with in 1930s America. 2y
Centique @CarolynM I really like that point you make that Lakey could do without men. She‘s like the comparison point brought in at the end - the one that escaped unscathed. But I do wonder if McCarthy failed to lift a curtain over Lakeys domestic life because of her sexuality? Was it easier for her to be out of sight? Also Harolds conversation with Lakey... do you feel she was playing him when she agreed she had “collected” the girls around her? 2y
CarolynM @Centique The comparison point, yes! And yes, it was certainly easier not to examine Lakey's experiences in any detail & maybe necessary from a publication viewpoint. I think Harald's litany of self justification at the end was covering up some serious feeling about Kay & L wanted to let H go on tormenting himself so she was going along with whatever he suggested. BTW I had to look up the "Daisy Chain" - a bit different from the one I'd heard of? 2y
Cinfhen Hmmmmm. I need to look up Daisy chain @CarolynMarie and check out the movie @rubyslippersreads 2y
Cinfhen Really insightful comments @Centique I‘d like to have a chat with this author/ 2y
Centique @CarolynM yes I thought she was just letting him run on and it probably wasn‘t the case. @Cinfhen yes wouldn‘t that be interesting? 2y
33 likes28 comments
blurb
BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Question 4 of 6
#Galentine #BestBuddyRead

AmyG Was the author biased or was that just the time of the story where men ruled everything? (edited) 2y
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vlwelser I didn't pick up on this. I felt like this was being told from the perspective of the girls so it didn't feel weird that the men were a bunch of idiots. I found the one that was fixated on breast feeding to be especially annoying. 2y
squirrelbrain Thinking back now I hardly even noticed the men - I had a hard enough time figuring out the different women. 🤣 However they were all portrayed in a negative way though weren‘t they. I liked the Dad who came to stay though - can‘t remember the girl‘s name. 2y
DebinHawaii @AmyG A good point. As much as I wanted to throat punch many of the women in the book (it did lessen in some) the men were mostly idiotic jerks. I think a lot of it was probably the time & the society. So much misogyny & mansplaining & posturing. Ugh. Different era & circumstances but I felt the same way I did about the men in this one (edited) 2y
Cinfhen I think Polly had the nice dad and the nice husband @squirrelbrain I can‘t remember but the rest of the men were total dicks. Harald was horrible as was his friend. I don‘t think the author was intentionally biased but I do think given the time when this book was written, men were not sensitive or revered their wives or other females 2y
TrishB @DebinHawaii good comparison! But I felt in Southern B.C that the author stereotyped them even more on purpose. You were supposed to dislike them? 2y
BarbaraBB @TrishB I think that you‘re right about that. They were so stereotypical indeed. Harald and Dick were caricatures. I liked Polly‘s dad also! 2y
Cinfhen I thought that was all tongue and cheek @DebinHawaii and intentionally over the top but yes... those men were definitely punch worthy 2y
DebinHawaii @Cinfhen @TrishB @BarbaraBB Good points! I think it was the putting your inconvenient unruly wife in the hospital thing that called it to mind & the groups of unlikeable husbands & men! 🤬 2y
AmyG I disliked the men because they expected women to behave a certain way. These men felt entitled to be treated a certain way by these women. Ha...I guess not much has changed. (edited) 2y
CarolynM The only one I thought was really ok was Polly's husband. He at least tried to be supportive of her and wanted to help her father. The father meant well, and we have to make allowances for his mental illness, but he was exploiting Polly with his overspending. The one I most despised was Priss's arrogant, conceited bastard of a husband. The dictatorial approach to how to deal with a baby was infuriating! (edited) 2y
Cinfhen Yes @AmyG the men definitely had a major sense of entitlement and polly‘s husband was the only decent guy @CarolynM 2y
CarolynM I think a lot of the point of the novel was to show many of the different ways I which men can have a significant negative impact on womens' lives. 2y
Kalalalatja @CarolynM I‘m with you on Priss‘ husband. He was beyond infuriating! 🙄🙄 2y
i.besteph I agree with many of the comments here. Tbh it‘s kind of scarred me in the perspective of how men “could be”🤦🏽‍♀️😅 The author may have portrayed them in a negative way but she hit it right in the nail. Many are just the same even now 2y
i.besteph I also feel the author hated people in general just because of the way she‘s portrayed all of the characters lives. 😂😂 2y
Cinfhen She was definitely a hater @I.be.Stef 😜 2y
rubyslippersreads I don‘t think I would call her biased towards men, because about 98% of the men came across as jerks. 2y
BarbaraBB @CarolynM That impact was enormous indeed and never in a supporting way. 2y
TheBookHippie She was definitely not a fan of people. 2y
LeahBergen And now I‘m sitting here and trying to think of ONE man in this entire novel that wasn‘t a complete arsehole. 🤔 Okay, maybe Polly‘s? He himself was a male stereotype, too - the “knight in shining armour” who swept in and saved her (financially and from spinsterhood). 2y
LeahBergen I‘m with you on this, @CarolynM . The men read like a checklist of things to avoid in a life partner. 😆 2y
Cupcake12 I don‘t think so but to be honest she found flaws in every character. If I had read this book if I was a young girl in the 1920/30s it would have put me off men for life. 🤣 2y
Centique @LeahBergen amen to that Leah! I feel like getting my daughter to read this as an education on bad men 😂😂 2y
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen @Cupcake12 You are both so right and it makes me laugh while it‘s seriously sad! 2y
31 likes28 comments
blurb
BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Question 3 of 6
#Galentine #BestBuddyRead

AmyG I wish I had read more about Lakey. I found her fascinating but she was only at thhe beginning and the end. I wanted Kay to suceed and be happy, but alas no. I didn‘t get the Dottie and Dick thing. He was an ass. Noine was something. Her mothering style kjnd of made me laugh. I liked Polly more when she settled down at the end. I am not sure Norine‘s role as she wasn‘t one of the group. (edited) 2y
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vlwelser She spent a lot of time on Norine and practically ignored some of the girls in the actual group. 2y
squirrelbrain I wonder if Norine was included to show what happened when you got what they all wanted (a rich husband, a baby) and that it wasn‘t all ‘that‘? 2y
Cinfhen I guess I cared for Kay, but not truly. I wasn‘t able to identify or root for any of them because for me, they mostly felt identical to each other. The one who stood out was Norine because she didn‘t give two f%cks. Whether it was belonging to the Group, being a “good” parent or being a supportive spouse, she was only concerned with pleasing herself. 2y
BarbaraBB About Norine, why wasn‘t she a part of the group I wonder? She was the traditional villain in the book but could have been that too had she been one of them. She even played a bigger role in the book than some members themselves. - as @vlwelser pointed out too. I like your POV @squirrelbrain 2y
BarbaraBB Mr favorite was Dotty, the one with the diaphragm. She seemed the most sincere and authentic. Too bad she married that boring man from Arizona 😉 2y
Cinfhen I liked Dotty and her mom @BarbaraBB they both seemed somewhat genuine 2y
vlwelser My favorite character was actually the butler. And I'm not totally sure which character's story he belonged to but I found him really amusing. 2y
BarbaraBB @vlwelser I don‘t even remember a butler and read the book a week ago 🤦🏻‍♀️ 2y
Cinfhen Oh yeah, he belonged to the mother and daughter who kept a room in the Vasser club ~ that‘s the mom who was always worrying about what others would think 2y
DebinHawaii I have to take a pass on this question until I go back & finish the middle 4 chapters, which now after the discussion, I may actually do. 😉 2y
Kalalalatja I wanted to know more about Lakey, as she seemed like the mist interesting in the group, but tbh, I can‘t really remember any of characters 🤷‍♀️ 2y
i.besteph Tbh I haven‘t finished the book as of yet. I‘m in chapter 10 but so far Norine seems like the home-wrecker. She really wants to (like Dottie‘s mom said) have her cake and eat it too 🤷🏽‍♀️ These girls really could be better off. So far I like Libby Macausland. She‘s a character I can relate with, a career driven woman. (Idk how she turns out for the rest of the chapter but so far so good) 2y
JennyM I really struggled to keep all the girls straight in my head. A week on after finishing, and I‘m not really sure who is who. 😬 2y
rubyslippersreads I didn‘t like Norine. She was horrible in not only cheating with Kay‘s husband, but later pretending to be Kay‘s friend in the mental hospital debacle. I couldn‘t really feel much for any of the girls, partly because I couldn‘t keep them straight. I couldn‘t keep their mothers straight either, but I do want that lovely reading room that one mother had. 😊 2y
BarbaraBB @I.be.Stef Libby was interesting indeed. @Centique pointed out in another question that Libby might well have been the alter ego of Mary McCarthy herself, which makes her extra interesting. 2y
BarbaraBB @Kalalalatja isn‘t it weird that we finished this book a few days ago and have forgotten about the characters already?! 2y
i.besteph @BarbaraBB that‘s an interesting perspective on the character. I‘ll have to search more about it online 2y
TheBookHippie I never liked any of them I found them infuriating and I remember having to constantly look back at who was who 🤯😬 not sure what that says other than I‘ve read books that had characters I‘ve never forgotten .. 2y
LeahBergen @rubyslippersreads I must say that I kept getting the mothers mixed up, too. 😆 2y
Cupcake12 I had to write post its about each character as I couldn‘t remember who was who. I didn‘t feel a connection with any of them and felt a sense of overwhelming pity and so glad that I live now where equality and diversity are values society believes in. 2y
Centique Coming in late again! But after @CarolynM commented on how each of the group covered a certain “type” of relationship - which I think is a great point - it makes me think that Norine covers off two types - the “homewrecker” as someone else mentioned, and maybe the “laid back” or “slatternly” mother? It certainly gave her a chance to contrast w the really disciplined system of child rearing that Priss was doing. 2y
Centique I really felt for Polly, the poor one who took in her manic depressive father. She ended on a happy note - but it seemed to be entirely something she fell into, all the power for making the change in her circumstances came from her male rescuer/fiancée. 2y
CarolynM @Centique I agree about Norene as a "homewrecker" and also a different sort of mother (kind of reminded me of some of the "new age" types) but, assuming she was telling Priss the truth, she ended relationships that weren't working and actively sought new, arguably better ones. She took more control of her own life than the others. 2y
Cinfhen Once again, great insight @CarolynM @Centique 2y
Centique @CarolynM that is a really good point! 2y
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blurb
BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Question 2 of 6
#Galentine #BestBuddyRead

AmyG I thought it was intersting to see with some of the mothers and daughters....the differences in the generations and yet how some things never changed. And some of the women (I forgot the names now) like the breastfeeding Mom seem d to really take to motherhood. Yet Norine...yikes. (edited) 2y
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Cinfhen I know @AmyG I can‘t separate or recall most of the girls myself...I think Priss is the one with the dr husband who bullied her into breastfeeding. She did take to motherhood but she was so anxious and I believe suffered from postpartum depression. (edited) 2y
Cinfhen I thought most of these girls were exact replicas of their mothers, even though they looked down upon that generation. They were in need of mummy‘s approval and $$$. For all their big talk they held no power or autonomy 2y
vlwelser I think it was mainly to show contrast but they actually aren't enormously different from their daughters. But some had more advantages than others. Like one girl's mother didn't go to college and talked about it on multiple occasions. There is a lot of stuff in this book. 2y
Cinfhen There is A LOT of stuff in this book @vlwelser and it was difficult to track it all. I‘m not sure each girl added something unique to the read 2y
DebinHawaii I think showing the relationships between mother & daughters (at least the ones I read & remembered) gave us insight into some of the characters. How they perceived & dealt with things & even got on in the world was influenced by their mothers in many respects—some for the better & some for the worse. 2y
squirrelbrain I agree @Cinfhen @vlwelser - I think the mothers were included to show contrast but actually ended up showing that nothing changed. The girls seemed completely in thrall to their mothers. 2y
DebinHawaii @Cinfhen I agree, we got only snippets of some of them & deeper dives on the others & it was hard to keep up. 2y
BarbaraBB Well said @squirrelbrain and @Cinfhen , I do think too that they wanted to be different from their mothers but turned out the same. 2y
TrishB @BarbaraBB I think they probably found that there still wasn‘t too many opportunities to be different and they slipped back into that life plan. 2y
BarbaraBB @TrishB That is possible but shouldn‘t they have been the ones with the opportunities since they were Vassar alumni? 2y
Cinfhen The world wasn‘t ready for career women @BarbaraBB so sad 😞 2y
Cinfhen Even with their degrees they were expected to volunteer or maybe become a teacher (something deemed womanly) 2y
TrishB I think the degree was something they did before they succumbed to the norm of women of their class. As @Cinfhen says most women had few ‘career‘ opportunities. 2y
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen You‘re right. Attending college was probably quite an achievement already! 2y
Cinfhen There was that one girl @TrishB who was a pilot/ I mean she flew her own jet but still....that‘s pretty badass 2y
TrishB @Cinfhen I think the rich always have a few outliers!! 2y
CarolynM I think the stories show just how much their husbands' attitudes affected the way each woman was able to live. It was interesting that only the one who became a literary agent (can't remember her name) was unattached and only she had career success - also interesting that she dropped out of the story just as she began her true career path. I agree the mothers were largely for contrast. 2y
BarbaraBB @CarolynM Goodmorning! I forgot about the one with the literary career. She was interesting. And ambitious. And then she disappeared out of the book. 2y
Centique @TrishB @Cinfhen I think you guys are so right. That was the kind of “lie” that I felt the book was uncovering. Graduating Vassar like they‘re this ground changing generation and yet almost all of them became trapped by role or relationship - as you said “without autonomy” @Cinfhen And I hadn‘t thought about it but yes, the mothers were all similar types. 2y
Cinfhen Ohhh, I totally forgot about her too @BarbaraBB I just remember she was kind of bitchy to Polly 2y
TrishB @CarolynM we can see why Elizabeth I never got married 😁 2y
TrishB @Centique I think that‘s really sad- all that potential! 2y
Centique @BarbaraBB @CarolynM I wondered whether Libby (writing gal) was supposed to be Mary. She became quite unlikeable I thought - and whether Mary herself might have found that happening with her group of real life friends. That‘s pure conjecture of course! 2y
TrishB @Centique the book is based on the authors experiences and her friends disowned her when published. I‘m not sure which is based on the author though. 2y
Cinfhen Interesting @Centique @TrishB I like that idea 2y
i.besteph I don‘t remember everything exactly as there was A LOT but I agree with many of the comments here. Though the mothers were introduced to display a contrast between the children, they ended up being the same personalities just in different situations. 2y
JennyM @TrishB I find that really interesting! I kind of wish I‘d know that when I‘d read it. Might have paid a bit more attention to details. 2y
JennyM Hi @Cinfhen @CarolynM 👋 Just heading out the door but I am really enjoying the discussions. It adds so much to my interpretation of the book 😘😘 2y
Cinfhen Enjoy @JennyM catch you later xxx 2y
rubyslippersreads @Cinfhen @TrishB Didn‘t Pokey also become a vet? She was hardly in the story, but she might have been the only one in the Group to “have it all”— veterinarian, pilot, wife, and mother. 2y
BarbaraBB I didn‘t know that @TrishB , that is interesting. @Centique she could have well been Libby because that character wasn‘t reall well worked out. I can imagine that McCarthy found her the least interesting character or didn‘t want too much about herself. 2y
Centique @BarbaraBB yes! That‘s a really good point. 2y
CarolynM 👋😘 @Centique @BarbaraBB @JennyM I've been for my morning walk, catching up on the discussion now🙂 Interesting about the author @TrishB Although Pokey becomes a vet it's not clear if she ever practices as one @rubyslippersreads It seems to me each character is there to represent different aspects of romantic/sexual relationships, so Dottie (sex without romance) and Libby (attempted rape) can be ignored once those incidents are done. 2y
Centique @CarolynM that‘s a really good point. It does feel like so many “types” of rotten relationships were played out. So many people I wanted to smack! 🤪 2y
Centique @CarolynM ps it‘s a public holiday here and I‘m out looking at the Americas Cup yachts with the kids - hence why I‘ve missed most of the commenting sorry @Cinfhen 2y
CarolynM @Centique That sounds lovely. Enjoy. 2y
Cupcake12 They are huge over arching themes both inextricably linked. Motherhood isn‘t glamourised which I like the idea of. Marriage was seen as the end goal and getting the ‘man‘. Each character was very different in their quest for life goals. 2y
Cinfhen Great point @Cupcake12 2y
Crazeedi Marriage and motherhood was a central theme. I think how some tried to have a career and be a liberated woman was just a grasp at independence before they became like their mothers. The one who fell in love with Dick and then later told her mother the whole episode, that mother was definitely different and not a norm. @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB 2y
Cinfhen Yes!!! Dotty and her mom had a nice relationship @Crazeedi 2y
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blurb
BarbaraBB
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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#GalsAndPals, thank you all for participating in our #Galentine weekend. We we are now starting our #BestBuddyread discussion👯‍♂️👯‍♀️👯‍♂️

This is question 1 of 6 about The Group.

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KVanRead I‘m only about 40 percent done but really loving it so far. It‘s definitely dated in terms of the casual racism but she also seems critical of that - ie with the maid with the Washington cake. It‘s an excellent snapshot of a certain class of people in a certain time and place. For the time period I think it is feminist, albeit white rich feminism 2y
TrishB I don‘t think it‘s feminist by today‘s standards, but probably then, although the author always refuted that claim. 2y
BarbaraBB I think it was quite outspoken about female sexual behavior but that‘s about it regarding feminism I think. The women mostly ended up in traditional roles, behaviour and mindset. 2y
Cuilin I think they would have considered themselves forward thinking women. They thought they were different from their mothers. However they were not able to use their education which prevented the agency they needed to be fully in control of their lives. 2y
squirrelbrain I agree with @KVanRead - it was only looking at one section of society so can‘t really be seen to be a truly feminist book. 2y
Cinfhen I agree, I wouldn‘t call this a feminist piece of literature but I feel like women today are STILL dealing with sexism, the burden of protection and the never ending pull/battle of career over motherhood. The expectations haven‘t really changed all that much, unfortunately. 2y
Simona Definitely it‘s a feminist story ... from the different times, but still. Some aspects of the story are dated, but basic problems of the women‘s roles are relevant. 2y
Cinfhen @Cuilin how sad and true, though they attended university and earned a degree most were expected to get married and make babies 2y
KVanRead @squirrelbrain I actually do think it is feminist but in its limited context. You are making me think, though...and I‘ll add that I think feminism has evolved to encompass equality for all and by that definition it‘s not truly feminist. 2y
Cinfhen Such an interesting point @squirrelbrain @KVanRead I admit to not picking up on that idea as well. 2y
TheBookHippie It‘s dated, however necessary to read to see life then. Feminist no, I do believe the author was quite adamant about that I can‘t remember where I read it at the time. It is how it was for certain women and complex for them. I heard once that they still couldn‘t really make a bad choice in this pretext because all their choices were still good. When I read this the first time that was the huge discussion topic. 2y
AmyG I think it could have ben considered feminist at the time....all the talk about sex and the diaphragm. I found the breastfeeding issues fascinating. And yes, you only see one class of people. I am just wondering if that was what the author “knew” or was comfortable with. Definitely dated....I found that amusing. (edited) 2y
squirrelbrain I don‘t know enough about the feminist movement at that time @KVanRead @Cinfhen , but I wonder if it started in the higher levels of society and trickled down? But, if feminism to them meant being different to their mothers, primarily by getting a job, then where does it leave those women who HAD to work for a living? 2y
TrishB @AmyG it was written based on the authors own experiences, so I guess that answers her knowing about that class of people. Though they all disowned her on publication of the book. (edited) 2y
TheBookHippie @TrishB great insight 2y
vlwelser I agree with @TheBookHippie this doesn't seem feminist at all. 2y
DebinHawaii I think it has feminist leanings but not truly a feminist novel for many of the reasons stated above. And as @KVanRead said, from a decidedly WASP perspective. Dated, definitely, but as @Cinfhen said, many of the issues & expectations that face have not changed that much. And great points @thebookhippie (edited) 2y
vlwelser I do think it's pretty dated but definitely an important read. 2y
BarbaraBB Agree @Cuilin , they were so progressive and had so many chances, but they didn‘t grab them 2y
JennyM I agree with all these comments. It was a book about the issues women were facing in the 30s, but it wasn‘t a book about feminism. It did feel dated to me - but I think the detail, although a bit much at times, was necessary given the time it was published 2y
CarolynM Definitely dated but still relevant because it is important for us to understand how life was lived before our own times. I don't think it's feminist in an academic sense, but any story that highlights the realities of women's lives has some claim to feminism. 2y
Cinfhen Good point @CarolynM and good morning to you and @JennyM 💚💚💚 2y
Centique I felt that McCarthy showed some of the horrible situations even the most privileged and “intelligent” women of the period found themselves in. She may have intended that only to be salacious or to show the darker side of what had seemed to be glamorous lives - but I think a feminist analysis of this now would be really illuminating. The personal manipulations and societal pressures going on! Dated - yes, the casual racism is awful. 2y
Centique @CarolynM we were writing at the same time! Good morning Carolyn 😘 2y
Cinfhen Hi @Centique I agree about the casual racism and I was a little taken aback on a few occasions when Mary McCarthy dropped really anti Semitic comments about Jews. 2y
Cinfhen It didn‘t sit well with me. 2y
TrishB @Cinfhen I find there‘s a lot of writing from this period that does that 😞 2y
Cinfhen I had the same reaction @TrishB not about Jews but the treatment of African Americans in Gone With The Wind - it was really uncomfortable to read 2y
i.besteph It doesn‘t necessarily seem like a feminist book to me. I‘m all for gender equality but there was a lack of that considering the time and era (if you will) that it was written in. Tbh I couldn‘t digest a lot of the parts in the book 😅 (edited) 2y
Centique @Cinfhen I felt awful when I read that. I‘ve only ever seen anti Semitism in books and I was shocked that it was treated as a commonplace comment in the US in the 50s. I‘m sure it must still be an issue and I obviously need to get better read about it. 😥 2y
Centique @Cinfhen re: Gone with the Wind - me too, it really unnerved me those remarks. 🤯 2y
TrishB @Cinfhen agree 😢 but good that we call it out now! 2y
Kalalalatja It definitely deals with issues related to being a woman, and in some ways that is what feminism is about, for me. However, it is a very, very narrow version of problems related to being a woman, and so dated, that I don‘t think of this as a feminist book. Forward for its time, but very WASP‘y and privileged 2y
rubyslippersreads I wouldn‘t call it feminist; the women are all well-educated, but aren‘t really expected to get much use out of their degrees, especially not after marriage. I‘m sure it was considered quite shocking at the time it was published, but it‘s not the tedious descriptions of birth control or Lakey‘s relationship that bother me. As many others said, it‘s the casual racism and anti-Semitism that I find upsetting now. (edited) 2y
rubyslippersreads @BarbaraBB @Cuilin I think society‘s expectation of them was to grab a husband. 😏 2y
Cuilin @rubyslippersreads Yes, they had no role models to show them anything different. 2y
BarbaraBB @rubyslippersreads You are probably right, it was their most important goal indeed. 2y
emilyhaldi In my opinion the book feels dated bc of how naive the girls were re: boys, sex, relationships... it‘s indicative of the time period but still very different from women of that age today. Dolly & Dick come to mind- even Kay‘s marriage. Things just weren‘t talked about in the same way back then and it left a lot of larger issues in the dark. 2y
peaknit @emilyhaldi I have only read 4 chapters but agree with you. Dick was aptly named. 2y
LeahBergen I was going to scream if I had to read the words “douche bag” one more time so yeah, it felt a little dated to me. 😂😂 2y
batsy Great question. I think it's both dated & relevant. I guess that's why second-wave feminism was about "the personal is political" because there are massive differences in personal experiences women have even within the same family/milieu/society. There can be lots of knowledge & awareness about gender rights, but behind closed doors all manner of oppressive relations still take place. So the book is feminist, in that sense? If that makes sense ? 2y
batsy @Centique Excellent point. I think this novel needs to be critiqued from an intersectional standpoint; looking at class & race. The casual entitlement & antisemitism & racism all jarring, even while we acknowledge how stifled/oppressed those same women were within their own social class or society. 2y
Cupcake12 Relevant as it provides some contemporary discussion points especially with the current pandemic and women being at hone more but dated in the sense that men were superior and help the power in every facet of life. Great question! 2y
Centique @batsy you put that so well! I was trying to parse for myself how it had feminist meaning even without the author necessarily intending it. But yes also so much there to analyse about race and class. I would love to go to a really good lecture on this book! 2y
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen Although it could be applied to some of the male characters. 🤣 2y
Cinfhen Hahaha @LeahBergen 😂😂😂😂and agreed @emilyhaldi @peaknit 2y
Cinfhen Hi @batsy so glad you chimed in with your wonderful insight!!!! This book while not a favorite really provides for great discussion @Centique 2y
batsy @Centique @Cinfhen A lecture on this would be so interesting! #nerdingout 😁 I'm still only at only 40% in and I'm mainly struggling with her style; but it's interesting enough to keep going. A real glimpse into an era. 2y
Cinfhen There are spoilers ahead @batsy so don‘t peek at questions xx 2y
Crazeedi @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen I would call this a feminist book. The writing is definitely 60's with the references to the things important to mothers and wives 2y
Crazeedi Also women in the 30s were just coming out of the roaring 20s so they saw some liberation in certain aspects. But the pull of social norms I think made the time confusing. Along with the depression that the country was experiencing played a role in their lives I'm sure 2y
Cinfhen That‘s true @Crazeedi it was only a few years after the market crash of 29 2y
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