No! I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub by Virginia Ironside

This book was on the list for our book group recently and, with the amusing title, we were virginia-ironside-booklooking forward to reading No! I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub by Virginia Ironside. Many of our members were familiar with the columns she writes in newspapers too.  No! I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub is written in an epistolary style, as if the reader was reading the narrator’s journal. The style enveloped the reader in the narrator’s head quickly and easily.

Marie Sharp may be a little creaky in the bones as she heads toward the big 6-0, but she’s fine with it. She is not interested in  parasailing or taking Italian language courses nor will she welcome comments about suggesting she join a gym. Marie has done it all: drink, drugs, sex and rock and roll. She has already led an exciting life: She came of age in the 1960s, after all.  So her friends don’t tell Marie to take a gourmet cooking class, and whatever they do, they shouldn’t tell her to join a book club. Marie has a new grandchild and a new man on the horizon, all she wants to do is make the most of what she considers the most interesting stage of her life.

virginia-ironsideNobody thinks 60 is old, but Marie thinks it is time to let go of dreams of love, forget about manners and plans. I found this attitude rather depressing and old fashioned. Parts of the book are funny and it is well-written. However, the book bored me. After my initial interest in the idea and format, the lack of plot and constant reference to sixty being old, I found that the book became tedious. I found No! I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub to be a collection of dated ramblings by a self-absorbed, unremarkable narrator. The title tickled me, but No! I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub did not tickle my fancy. I have not read any other books by Virginia Ironside, and on the basis of this, I will not be looking for others.

Valerie Penny




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