Supper Club by Lara Williams

If I start a book, I almost always finish it.  It’s a sort of stubbornness, but also, I always hope that it is going to redeem itself somewhere along the line.

Supper Club was a book I finished, but unfortunately I didn’t get along with at all.  It wasn’t for me.  I can see how, if recipes and talking about food are your bag, you might love it.

My fundamental problem was with the structure.  I like a book that I can put down and when I come back to it a couple of days later, I can pick up where I left off.   Not possible with Supper Club.

It jumped around so much, I didn’t know where I was from one reading to the next, and I read it every night to try and remedy this problem.

The book is written in the first-person narrative and centers around Roberta.  The story jumps between Roberta’s life at university where she struggles to fit in and make friends, and her current life, writing reviews for a fashion website where she meets the indomitable Stevie.

Stevie and Roberta set up the ‘Supper Club’ a club where women get together to eat, drink, and go wild. They source food from dumpsters (yes really) and leftover food from supermarkets.  Roberta is a great cook and rustles up all sorts of exotic dishes. Their behaviour during Supper Club is to behave as badly as possible.  Mash food everywhere, have food fights, eat and drink and take drugs till you are sick. Out of control.  They break in to places and demolish them.  Why?  It certainly doesn’t seem to make them feel any better about themselves, and I just didn’t see the point.

The idea that somehow this makes them feminists and is sticking it up to the patriarchy just seemed a ridiculous idea to me.  What are they trying to prove?  That they can eat until they are sick?  Way to go.

The redeeming aspects of the story are the descriptions of the food and the descriptions of Roberta’s loneliness. What I hated, were the recipes that were just dropped into the novel a propos of nothing.  They jarred with me as they spoilt the flow of the narrative.

Towards the end, I did enjoy the narrative regarding Roberta and Stevie’s friendship and some of the descriptive writing is exceptionally astute and beautiful, but overall, I am afraid this novel just frustrated me.   If you have read it and enjoyed it, perhaps you can enlighten me?!  I have such respect for writers, and there is no doubt that Lara Williams is an exceptionally gifted writer.  This novel just wasn’t for me.

supper club