Turning Fifty Shades of Red at the Bookstore

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Fifty years ago, a very distinctive and diverse group of women decided to start meeting once a month. The group was made up of daughters of former Governors, wives of distinguished business men, stay at home moms, and women who were just beginning the journey of leaving a definitive mark on their communities. The common thread that would bring these women together once a month was their passion for reading.  And so it was that fifty years ago, the “Last Word Book Club” met for the very first time. 

My mom was invited to join the club over 35 years ago. I was six years old at the time. I can remember how my mom always had a book next to her bed, but only later did I learn that each month she was reading it to discuss with the group. I smile now that I am a mom at the fact that she was even able to read a book each month.

It was a real pleasure today to attend the Last World Book Club’s Fourth Annual Authors Day at Goodwood. As a writer, I love to hear published authors speak about what motivated them to write a novel, where their inspiration came from for each character, and of course, to  hear them read an excerpt of their book. It was also special to be in a room full of women who I have known all my life, whose children I grew up with, and whose grandchildren now know each other. So many memories and lives have been touched by the “Last Word Book Club”.

As they luncheon was wrapping up, the hostess stood up to clarify the title of the book for next month.  It is about a girl from Lithuania, a very moving story that will lead to lots of lively discussion for the club. Unfortunately, there is another book with a similar title that isn’t exactly great literature. I had to hold my breath so I wouldn’t laugh out loud as the discussion began. The book the group is reading for next month is called Between the Shades of Gray.  But apparently there was some confusion between this novel and the very graphic and very popular bestseller called Fifty Shades of Grey. As one person pointed out, “it contains some very inappropriate and pornographic chapters.”  Being in media I know a bit about the book, and I couldn’t help but laugh thinking about my mom and her friends picking it up by mistake. That would make for quite a book club meeting! 

Of course, after all the publicity surrounding the book, I felt obligated to read it. I went to the bookstore with the kids in tow to buy a copy.   Before we went in to the bookstore I informed the children that this was going to be a very quick trip in and out so Mommy could get one book.  I walked inside and of course saw some familiar faces, which made my heart race.

There I was, trying to be discreet in my purchase of this “trashy” novel as I found myself saying hello to someone every time I tried to grab a copy. Finally, it cleared out, giving me the opportunity to grab a copy and make a mad dash to the check-out. As luck would have it, the cashier was in the midst of a conversation with someone, so I had to wait; with each passing second, more and more customers gathered in line behind me. Finally she rang me up and I quickly swiped my credit card. Unbeknownst to me, the morning swim that my card took in the washing machine caused it to deactivate.

By that point I had turned about 50 shades of red trying to discreetly purchase the book Fifty Shades of Grey.  By this point I was sure that everyone has seen that mom buying the popular book filled with wildly “inappropriate” things that would mortify the Last Word Book Club. As we were leaving, with my book hidden in the bag and the color in my face finally returning to normal, my sweet little son opened his big mouth and said, “Mommy, I bet you’re happy you got your book Fifty Shades of Grey. So much for being discreet.

I read the book and let’s just say I will not be doing a book review anytime soon!  The good news is that the Last Word Book Club cleared up the confusion regarding the book and I am happy to say that the the club will remain G-rated.

For even more of my blogs and adventures as a single mom with six kids trying to juggle the joys and chaos of motherhood,  visit TLHmoms.com. Follow me on Twitter @TLHmoms and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TLHmoms

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