Oh boy, was I ever down on book club yesterday. There were a whole bunch of things going against me yesterday that started with pretty much complete lack of sleep on Sunday night and working all day Monday. Being so tired I can barely string two thoughts together does not put me in the mood for chatty get-togethers. Half of the women stay home with their kids full time so they are all ready for adult interaction whereas I just want to discuss the book and go to sleep. Additionally, an old member recently rejoined our group, a person that I really like, but whose participation skews the conversation in curious ways. Towards camping and yearly trips to Disney World, extreme exercise routines, and long talks about dogs. We are cat people here.
Do I sound cranky? Boy was I ever cranky yesterday. I composed 10 different emails telling everyone that I'm Not Coming! but didn't send any of them. My husband finally convinced me to go and leave early. I'm glad I did. All my complaints melted away as I enjoyed the company of old friends.
The book we discussed last night was Child 44by Tom Rob Smith. It was universally liked my my book club in varying levels.
In a nutshell: Child 44 is set in Stalin-era Russia. Everyone is looking over their shoulder and trying not to draw attention to themselves, for if you are suspected, then you are guilty. And if your child is found dead, they weren't murdered, because there is no crime in the Soviet Union. Leo is a MGB agent and thinks he and his wife safe, until they aren't. On the sly, Leo begins investigating a series of child murders, which puts him family into even greater jeopardy. What he finds, is, well, surprising.
This is a thriller in every sense of the word. It felt like every time I turned the page, there were more twists and turns, and even knowing something was coming didn't damper my enthusiasm for finding out what it was. Setting this story in Stalin-era Russia was a brilliant decision. I found the entire setting so fascinating. I sort of knew that living under this regime wasn't a good thing, but didn't really have any idea of what went on behind the scenes, how citizens were brutalized and lived in fear. It was frightening, creepy, and disturbing. A great read, if you're into that sort of thing!