“The Book Club” and Me
by Donna Scrafano
Since I have been sheltering-in, so I’ve been watching a lot of movies. Mostly fun movies. Some movies I’ve seen before. One particular movie I’ve chosen to watch, and I’ve seen several times, is “The Book Club.” I had forgotten just how funny and yet truthful each actor’s story was, at least for middle-aged women like me.
I can actually identify with every one of their characters. Diane Keaton’s character, Diane, is this very caring, family-driven woman who seems to put her own needs last. Although I’ve learned not to place my needs on the back burner, I understand how we tend to do so as mothers. In the end, Diane seemed to get it. She as much as told her grown children that she was going to be happy on her own terms. And who wouldn’t have? Diane’s new-found happiness was with a handsome pilot named Mitchell, played by the oh-so-talented and gorgeous Andy Garcia. I must say that Diane delivered the news of her new-found happiness to her children in a much kinder way than I would have.
I sometimes still find myself saying, to at least one of my grown children, “Don’t tell me how to run my affairs.” A couple of girlfriends and I have decided to begin a support group for seniors who are tired of our children acting like our parents. Honestly!
Jane Fonda’s character, Vivian, is a very successful, self-made entrepreneur. No, I am by no means an entrepreneur. However, another characteristic of Vivian is that she does not allow herself to become intimate with any man due to trust and commitment issues. She would rather have casual relationships. That was me. I was focused on my career and my family at one time. Therefore, I only allowed time for fun and wanted nothing serious. Vivian did, however, succumb to reuniting with her true love in the end.
There was just a hint of similarity between myself and Mary Steenburgen’s character, Carol. Carol wanted nothing but for her and her husband of 35 years to regain what they once had. If I ever had a good husband, I’m sure I would want the same. I loved the shenanigans she attempted in hopes her husband would respond. Another wonderful actor, Craig T. Nelson, played Carol’s husband, Bruce.
The last book club member, Sharon, played by Candice Bergen, was probably the one I identified with the most. She was funny, witty, honest, career-minded, and seemed to go beyond the permitted behavioral boundaries society placed on this generation of female baby-boomers. Sharon had also, seemingly, given up on men. However, with the influence and support of her long-time friends, she persevered to the dating scene.
There were funny scenes throughout the entire movie. I mostly laughed at what Sharon experienced, as I could relate. I identified with her lovingly sarcastic remarks, her inability to maneuver through the computer, and the pitfalls of online dating. My last attempt with online dating was approximately six years ago. Enough said.
I loved all the women’s characters and how they portrayed their lives. I also loved the camaraderie with this group of women. Although they lived their lives differently, they were the same in many ways. They all ended up either in or wanting meaningful relationships with partners. They were all supportive of each other. They truly cared for each other. And they didn’t judge one another. Instead they accepted each other’s differences.
So, if you are still sheltering-in, or not, and want a feel-good movie, you can’t go wrong with “The Book Club.” Check it out. Even if you have seen it before, you may find something different, something more meaningful by watching it again. Enjoy!
Photo by Georgia Vagim (Los Angeles) @georgiavagim
Donna began her journey in Human Services in 1983. During the next 35 years she held various positions and formally retired in 2018. She writes on an array of social issues. Donna's relaxation time includes walking her Lab, Roxy, having fun with her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, writing for Silver Sage, spending time with friends and family. Her last full-time position was providing care to her father. Since that has ended, Donna is taking the time to invest in her own self care and interests.