Book Club 2023-2024

Strange Sally Diamond, by Liz Nugent

You don’t have to “love” a book to continue reading it, if it’s got that magnetism of theme and plot, big characters and disturbing events, depraved controlling men in this case, abduction and even a hint of murder.  You are sucked into it unwittingly from the very first opening sentence and you can’t leave until you are done.

Even when you are dissatisfied with the ending and saddened that all is not resolved for Sally, you are left with a conundrum of a twist in the reappearance of a toy bear that started it all off!! 

This is Strange Sally Diamond.

10 of us read and marked the book, 9 of us discussed it in our club.

Average score was 4 out of 5.

A lively discussion ensued due to its relevance here on real life cases where whole families are destroyed by the depraved actions of one person, and repercussions felt throughout.

There are shades of The Maid (Nita Prose) in Sally, in her quirkiness thus providing us with the only spots of humour in the book ! Also Room (Emma Donoghue) where the long lost daughter escapes from captivity only to have her child who was born during that time totally rejected by the girls family.

Did we “love”the book? 

We rewrote Sally’s end story.

Everyone needs a break !! 

Valerie Lynch Kelly.

Someone Else’s Shoes, by JoJo Moyes

A heartwarming story, not contrived, credible, and an easy read.

So say our Book Club members, overall score 3 .5 out of 5.

It has an interesting theme: What happens, on different levels, when two people accidentally swap and wear “someone else’s shoes” .

Nisha and Sam, poles apart in lifestyle now, but not too dissimilar in early life, are in the gym and both rushing, grab the wrong bag each.

Interestingly both don’t actually meet until halfway through the book. Meanwhile we get absorbed into their separate lives now, all because of a missing pair of Louboutins! 

Sam, wearing Nisha’s said Louboutins feels powerful, assertive, confidant, attributes not usually felt by her, which are further reinforced by the reaction of the business men she is dealing with. With a “tilt and extension of an ankle” and letting a “shoe strap slide down a heel” results positively financially, and ensures there will be more business transactions to follow !

Nisha on the other hand, wearing the “black, clumpy shoes” looks and feels as downtrodden as the other people she sees wearing similar footwear.

There’s the usual eclectic mix of characters from the “martyr” Sam who is always trying to please everyone except herself, the ill person Andrea, who is also a very kind one, Jasmine being the woman of colour, working hard for poor wages and sharing all she has .

Phil is depressed and in therapy, and Nisha the poor girl turned rich girl turned spurned, cheated upon wife, penniless again now.

Sam’s boss the overbearing “grade A wanker” according to Sam’s very supportive work mates . Then we have the cheating, abusive, criminal husband. Nisha does have one great male friend Alek who cooks her food to ease her stress. She also has a son who is gay, young, and vulnerable.

The eventual returning of the shoes to Nisha is a bit drawn out, needlessly, but then the real importance of the Louboutins becomes clear!! 

There’s a bit of a too neat ending, but the main characters are so likeable we all felt that it was justified. 

  Valerie Lynch Kelly.