Monday, July 2, 2012
The Meryl Streep Movie Club
By Mia March
New York, Gallery Books, 2012
325 pages Fiction
The Short List
My summer beach reads are usually mysteries. At one point in my life, all I read was mysteries. For many women, however, the beach read of choice is generally “chick lit.” The Meryl Streep Movie Club falls into that category.
My husband asked me what “chick lit” was when I mentioned that I was reading The Meryl Streep Movie Club. I told him these details: two teenage girls, June and Isabel, lose their parents in a car accident along with their uncle, the father of their cousin, Kat. Their Aunt Lollie who runs an inn in Maine raises all three girls. When the book begins they are all three called home for an important announcement. One woman has just dumped a cheating husband, one woman is looking for the father of her 7-year-old son, and the third woman is debating whether she loves her long-time best friend. That, I said, is chick-lit in a nutshell. Even the aunt, Lolly, has her secrets.
The intriguing literary device utilized in The Meryl Streep Movie Club is that the three women and Lolly watch movies every Friday night at the inn. This is Meryl Streep month, and the choices of movies mirror in several ways the dilemmas the women are facing. They watch Mama Mia, Kramer vs. Kramer, It’s Complicated, The Bridges of Madison County, Heartburn, Defending Your Life, Postcards from the Edge, and Out of Africa. Typical to women watching DVDs, there are lots of comments during the movies, as the women find that they are relating their life situations to the situation Meryl Streep faces in the movies.
The reviewer in the Book Reporter sums up her review in this way: “THE MERYL STREEP MOVIE CLUB has plenty of tidy endings—enough to make any big-time Hollywood producer happy—but it also takes a realistic approach to the dilemmas facing Isabel, June and Kat, not to mention Lolly herself. March's debut novel is a romantic, heartfelt read, one that will likely be pulled out of beach bags from California to the coast of Maine this summer season.”
When I received this book from the publisher, I decided that watching Meryl Streep movies sounded like a really good idea. I think that she is the greatest living American actress, particularly in her ability to play people other than herself. I absolutely loved her in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie and Julia, and although I haven’t seen The Iron Lady yet, I know that she is marvelous in that one as well. I ordered Out of Africa from Netflix, and while I was waiting, I watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan, which I believe is one of her first movies. Then I watched Kramer vs. Kramer, which is the first movie that I remember knowing who Meryl Streep was. When Out of Africa arrived, I made my husband watch it with me. His comment was “Well this movie doesn’t go anywhere but it is extremely compelling. I thought I’d get up and leave, but I really liked it.” What’s my favorite Meryl Streep movie? I think I would have to say either Sophie’s Choice or Adaptation; Sophie’s Choice for the magnificent character and Adaptation for the way in which she brought credibility to a basically quirky movie. (As an aside, I love quirky movies.)
In the case of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, however, I need to say that the literary device was better than the actual book. In other words, the movie(s) was better than the book. Read the book on the beach and then have your own Meryl Streep movie month.
The author has another movie-related summer book coming out in 2013. It involves another famous actor, Colin Firth, and it is called Finding Colin Firth. I love Colin Firth. Want to join me in a Colin Firth movie marathon?
Here is a really good summary of the book in Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mia-march/meryl-streep-movie-club/#review
The review in The Book Reporter: http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews/the-meryl-streep-movie-club
Mia March’s website: http://www.miamarch.com