I'm not a Daily Mail reader by inclination but I came across this on their website and wondered if you recognised any of your group members therein - or even yourself???
THE HARRIED MOTHER
She’s the staple of every book group,
well-intentioned but over-stretched. She always arrives late, usually with food
in her hair. There’s invariably an on-going crisis at home — the baby is
teething, the teenager has thrown a strop and her husband’s job is on the line.
The Harried Mother has never read the book. ‘I
started it,’ she says, ‘but life got in the way. Was it any good? I wish I had
the time to read, but having kids has put an end to all that.’ Harried Mother
usually leaves early to sort things out at home. She’d be better off at a yoga
class to relieve stress.
THE HEAD GIRL
She has always read the book, has often read
comparative works by other authors, and has usually done forensic web research.
She might even have printed off detailed reference notes for the group and will
already have bought tickets to see the author at a literature festival.
This, despite the fact that she works full-time in
an Alpha job, has a big family, fits in copious good works for a local charity,
and always looks immaculate. Every group needs her: she’s focused and
organised, and always comes armed with four well-considered suggestions for
books to read next time.
THE 'I'M NOT MUCH OF A READER'
She’s here for the social interaction because she
never reads the book. Ever. She’d be better placed at a Virgin Vie party buying
bath soak, or at home watching Jennifer Aniston rom-coms.
She’s likely to suggest a chick-lit novel which,
under duress, everyone else reads but hates. Then when we turn up next month,
The ‘I’m not much of a reader’ admits she ‘forgot’ to buy the book, but wants
to tell us all about her gorgeous new chocolate Labrador puppy.
If there’s a film or a TV adaptation of the book,
she doesn’t see the point in reading it.
She sits nervously worrying about whether she has
provided enough nibbles, the right kind of wine, and whether anyone will notice
that passatta stain on the carpet.
While everyone else is wrestling with the power of
metaphor, The Hostess is on a constant trek to the kitchen, ferrying dips,
olives and very crumbly cake to guests who seem not to appreciate her efforts.
The dog’s barking because he resents being shut in the utility room, and her husband
will moan about being banished to the spare room for the evening.
Always a phenomenal bore. She talks too much. She
doesn’t debate: she dominates. She likes to drone on about herself, using the
most tenuous of links to the book under discussion.
‘When he’s mugged on that beach in Ecuador in
Chapter Two, it reminded me of when Ralph and I were in Cyprus last year and we
were ripped off by a taxi driver in Paphos.’
The Floor-Hogger is impossible to avoid and hard to
manage, but shows up with depressing regularity for a chance to take Centre
Her only field of interest is the private life of
everyone in the room . . . in the street. She always comes armed to the
teeth with gossip — who’s left their spouse, how much the house on the corner
sold for, whose child is struggling at school.
She makes no pretence of why she is at the Book
Group, and never makes any attempt to read the book. Why would she? She is here
to prey on those whose tongues have been loosened by supermarket wine.
Mandy Appleyard, Daily Mail, 14/4/2011