Last night Catherine and I went to our mother-daughter book club meeting at Show-Ling and Jaeda’s house. We had all read Ireland, by Frank Delaney. At 560 pages it weighed in (literally) as more than the books we usually read, but we’ve been knowing our book choice since early November so we had a bit of time to read it.
Show-Ling made cabbage soup and baked potatoes with toppings as an Irish-themed-sort of dinner. Then we had yummy homemade apple pie for dessert. We all had so much to catch up on since we hadn’t seen each other for nearly two months that it was hard to break away and talk about the book.
Jaeda had a list of questions she wanted us all to answer during the discussion, and we went around in a circle talking about the two story lines that appear in Ireland: that of the storyteller’s tales of Irish history, and that of Ronan’s own story.
Most of us liked learning more about the history of Ireland. And I think a lot of us would love to be able to hear those tales as told through a storyteller like the one in the book. Listening to Ireland as an audiobook might enhance its enjoyment.
While many of were enchanted with Ronan’s story, we were less forgiving of how the novel progressed along those lines. We did discuss how Ronan makes a somewhat classical hero’s journey throughout the novel, moving from childhood to adulthood along the way. But we didn’t like the secrecy that surrounded so much of his life and circumstances. I won’t spoil the plot with more details, as the readers know all along that something mysterious is happening in the background as Ronan searches for the storyteller through so many years.
All in all I would rate Ireland a good novel for readers in high school and older, but I don’t recommend it for a mother-daughter book club. While clubs can tackle longer choices, they don’t work in most situations, when clubs are meeting monthly or even every six weeks.