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My Father’s Secret War

We are introducing today, what I hope will become a regular feature of the blog, a recap of our book club discussion groups. Today Faith reports on last Friday’s non-fiction book club meeting.

I asked one question and the group didn’t stop talking for 20 minutes!  I asked, “What was meant by the title, My Father’s Secret War”?  On a recent Friday morning the “Falmouth Public Library Non-fiction Book Club” met over tea and banana bread to discuss this memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner, Lucinda Franks.

Franks, a journalist who has written for The New York Times and several other publications, recalls her dysfunctional childhood while trying to pry information from her father about his secret missions during WWII.  She felt that if she could uncover his secrets, that she could then understand his cold demeanor, alcoholism and unhappy marriage, and ultimately, herself.  However, he was bound by an oath to never talk about his covert operations and fear of unleashing deep emotions and his increasing dementia further strained the issue.

All of the group members had a lot to say about the themes and events in this book.  One person after another spoke animatedly about the manner in which Cindy questioned her father, and whether she was justified or cruel.  We talked about how her father must have reacted when he entered a recently evacuated concentration camp and saw horrific scenes.  Several people agreed that they never would have picked up My Father’s Secret War on their own, but they were glad they read it, and glad too, that they had other people with whom to discuss it.  Talking about the issues, and emotions they evoked, helped everyone to understand the book better and plumb their own experiences with silent veterans of war.

The Non-fiction Book Club meets (almost) every first Friday of the month at 10am to discuss a variety of true books that read like novels.  Join us for our next meeting on April 1st where Donna will be leading a discussion of Mark Kurlansky’s The Eastern Stars:  How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris.  Join the group for one book discussion or all.  Just stop by the reference desk to get a copy of the upcoming title, read it and come to the meeting prepared to share your thoughts.  We’d love to have you!

If non-fiction isn’t your thing, you may want to try our Fiction Book Club instead.  That group meets twice a month with a morning and evening session.  The current theme is “New York, New York, Books set in the Big Apple.” On March 15 and 17 they will be discussing Colum McCann’s novel, This Side of Brightness.

And by the way, we are looking for better names for our two book clubs. Originally the fiction book club was called Books & Bagels, because we only met in the morning and we served bagels. However, when we added a night group, that no longer seemed like an appropriate name. So if you happen to have a snappy book club name suggestion (we need two ... one for the fiction, one for the non-fiction) just post a comment here, or send us an e-mail at .

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