Friday, January 27, 2017

Before the Fall - January Book Club

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley was my book club's January pick.

Well, it was actually our November book club pick, but the book was in such high demand that nobody was able to get it from the library in time! I was on this book's reserve list from September 2016 to January 2017!

I'm not sure why there was so much hype. Apparently, Hawley is a writer for some pretty popular TV shows, but I've never watched them, so I was not familiar with him prior to this book.

The premise of the book is that there's a plane crash. The only survivors are a 4-year-old boy named JJ and a painter named Scott. Why did these two survive? Why was Scott even on the plane in the first place? Why did the plane crash?

What did I think? I really liked the book. I liked the way the story was told. You get a little bit at a time, and then you're brought back to the present in between. It sort of leaves you guessing and presents a few possible scenarios as to how/why the plane crashed, and then you get to the real reason, and you go, "Wow. It was THAT?" It kind of makes you realize that when certain things happen in this day and age, everyone is so quick to jump to the most outrageous conclusion, forgetting that random stuff happens all the time for the stupidest reasons. (Sorry if that sounds vague, but I'm trying to not give anything away here.) There is a definite commentary in this book on the news media (very anti-Fox News) and how, simply because they have to fill air-time, they just keep talking and talking and talking about the same story over and over again even if there is nothing new to report. And then they start speculating and putting ideas into viewer's minds, and it's like, "Just stop! Go to something else or go off the air until you have something NEW and factual to tell us!"

What did my book club think? Well, out of six who attended, four read the book. Two people said they were disappointed in the ending, and just disappointed in the book overall because it didn't live up to expectations. Someone said she cared more about JJ and Scott and wanted to read more about them as opposed to the other characters. She also wasn't a fan of the writing style, but she could see it working as a TV show script (which, of course, is what Noah Hawley is famous for). The other person said she liked the pacing of the book, but I don't think she liked the book as much as I did. 

We talked about the author's perception of women and the meaning of certain parts of the book. I don't want to give too much away, but we thought that perhaps the book was also commenting on how things that are cute in rom-coms may actually come across as creepy in real life, but guys think that they can get away with that stuff because girls justify it by going to see those movies. 

The discussion for this book went really well, and I would definitely recommend it for other book clubs, as long as you can get your hands on the book!


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