A big Aussie welcome to the 6th week of The Grown-Up Girls Report book club. This week, we’ll be discussing ‘The Weekend’ by Aussie author Charlotte Wood – a book that celebrates female friendship!

I hope that you are managing to squeeze in a book or 2 while we are are isolating at home! Why not turn off Netflix and open a book – you won’t regret it, I promise!

A big shout out to those who are managing to read our weekly book – it’s a huge commitment but I’m so enjoying it – and definitely watching less TV!

The lovely ‘Madds’

In the spirit of The Grown-Up Girls Report Book Club, I ‘ll be chatting about this terrific read with a very dear friend. So, this week, I’m so pleased to introduce you to Maddie Thomson – a friend of over 15 years. ‘Madds’ has 3 divine children who have grown up alongside my boys. After an early, very successful career in radio, Maddie trained as a teacher in her 30’s and is now so passionate about teaching – particularly drama!

Why Alex Chose ‘The Weekend’

Firstly, the cover is gorgeous! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but it certainly beckons you in!

I wanted to know more about Aussie author Charlotte Wood. Described by The Australian as ‘one of our most original and provocative writers’, Charlotte’s previous book – The Natural Way of Things – was a smash hit. It won a list of awards including the 2016 Stella Prize and Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction.

I knew the book was about female friendship which is something very dear to my heart – particularly at the moment while we are all living in isolation. Never before has the power of friends and people been more relevant!

‘The Weekend’ also focuses on women in their 70’s which is not common – unfortunately! – and I wanted to learn more about what’s ahead!

What’s It About?

The story centres around a weekend during which 3 friends in their 70’s gather at the former holiday home of a mutual friend who has recently died. Each of the women is dealing with the loss of their friend Sylvie who was clearly the lynchpin in their friendship group.

A real insight into the type of friendships that evolve between friends over 4 decades, this beautifully written book also deals with the process of growing older in an often very humorous fashion. It delves into ageism, loneliness and but absolutely celebrates the importance of friendship for women.

Why Should You Read It?

If you had ever doubted the importance of friendship in your life then this book is for you. While it isn’t a glossy representation, its honest depiction of friendship is refreshing and quite honestly, powerful!

While there is some discussion about whether the characters are stereotypical or atypical, they are definitely worth getting to know. Whether it’s cold ex-restaurateur Jude who has been a mistress for 40 years, broken-down actress Adele who is obsessed with aesthetics or well-known opinionated intellectual Wendy – these ladies are honest, funny and will truly give you an insight into getting old!

It is funny! Charlotte Wood has a wicked sense of humour and she manages to weave this in to some quite confronting situations.

You will want to meet Finn. Finn is the 17 year old Labradoodle, owned by Wendy. Finn’s deteriorating health and energy is very much a metaphor for their deteriorating nature of these ladies’ friendship.

Charlotte Wood doesn’t shy away from social issues. After the weekend finishes, two of the characters are facing the prospect of homelessness and financial insecurity. In fact, I did a little research and found that 34% of single Aussie women live in poverty! I wasn’t aware of this and am very grateful to Charlotte Wood for raising awareness of this issue.

Would Alex and Maddy Recommend The Book?

Absolutely!!! Both Alex and Maddy enjoyed the book. Maddy would give it a 9/10 and Alex an 8/10. There are a few sad moments in the book however it is a wonderful reminder of how essential people are in our lives. The girls both thought it also provided a good reminder of the importance of kindness and forgiveness – particularly in long term friendships.

You can listen to the podcast via your favourite podcast app, or by clicking on the link below.

Thanks so much for being part of our book club! Looking forward to catching up next week!

Alex xx

PS Our book for next week is ‘The Paris Secret’ by New York Times best selling author Natasha Gan. This book is all about ‘a wardrobe of Dior gowns, a secret kept for sixty-five years, and the three women bound forever by war’ – sounds intriguing! If you haven’t yet managed to get a copy, why not download it? I’d so love you to be a part of our club! xx