Book club

A slight Grace hiatus

Delia Brandel

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Photo by Delia Brandel

I sit here writing this article with shaking hands, for this week only, the baton was passed to me to write Book Club. 

These are adorable, stylish and extremely impressive shoes to fill (hello, Grace) as I am but a lowly staff writer, starting my second semester here on The Spectator. 

That being said, I have been waiting with bated breath to talk about this book, and I’m thrilled to get the opportunity. 

I am a book devourer, I read about one book every week, depending on my academic workload. I have book-themed pins, hats and shirts. My backpack is always stocked with at least one paperback to read. 

I knew when I came to college I had to bring my usual cast of characters — my favorite books of all time and a generous heap of my “to be read. 

My first week of school here, I bought a book titled “The Most Fun We Ever Had” by Claire Lombardo. This is her debut novel, and I went in blind.

I am an avid Goodreads connoisseur and a review reader, so this was a bit unheard of for me, but I decided to give it a go. 

The cover of this book, although irrelevant to the quality of the inside (duh, we’ve all heard that saying) was a beautiful house, fall foliage and sunlight streaming through the yard. 

The book follows a family of four daughters, all adults and their two parents. Each one of them gets their own narrative within the book. 

I adore family-centered books, even more so when they involve the relationships between women, sisters, daughters and mothers. 

This book warmed me to my core, throat-punched me then lulled me to sleep. It’s one of those books you hug after you finish reading. 

I’ve never had such an emotional connection to any book, other than maybe “Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory” by Raphael Bob-Waksburg

I swear I’ve pushed this book on every person in my life. It taught me so much about family, love and most surprisingly, about myself. 

Lombardo does an excellent job of showing yourself in each of her characters. You connect with them and become them throughout the book. 

I distinctly remember being surprised at how close I felt to each of the daughters, each of their internal dialogues feeling very similar to my own at some point within the novel.

This book explores the concept of motherhood, marriage and growing up from several different angles, and by the end I could emotionally connect to each of these relationships in the pages. 

“The Most Fun We Ever Had” does something very unique: It portrays a family dynamic in a realistic lens. It’s messy, people hurt one another and grudges and scars develop. 

And yet, despite all of the horrible things we do that hurt those we call family, we come back to one another (with some exceptions). We still feel a warmness about them, and we take care of each other. 

I finished this book sitting outside in the green space on Upper Campus, and I can remember setting it down and immediately texting my mom. The sacrifice of motherhood had never been so clear to me. 

I carried this book around with me in my backpack for a good two weeks after I had finished it, just to keep it with me. 

I’ve considered buying another copy just to be able to write my thoughts, feelings and reactions in it and borrow it out to others, so they get the full experience. 

If there was one thing I could say about this book, it would be this: Be prepared to fall in and out of love with the characters in this book, the same way you do with those in your real life. 

Hopefully I did this column justice, and I look forward to our regularly scheduled book club dialogue from Grace in the coming week.

Brandel can be reached at [email protected].