Thursday, November 6, 2008

Title of Hope - Saving the World

We are at the end of 2008 and we'll have our final book discussion on Julia Alvarez's fifth novel: Saving the World (a loaded title, of course).
Here's a summary of her book:
In Alvarez's novel, two women living two centuries apart each face "a crisis of the soul" when their fates are tied to idealistic men whose commitments to medical humanitarian missions end in disillusionment.

Alma Heubner's husband, Richard, goes to the Dominican Republic to help eradicate AIDS, while Alma, a bestselling Latina writer, stays at home in Vermont to work on a story about a real, ill-fated 19th-century expedition chaperoned by Dona Isabel Sendales y Gomez, the spinster director of a Spanish orphanage who agrees to vaccinate 20 of her charges with cowpox and bring them from Spain to Central America to prevent future smallpox epidemics. While the leader of the anti-smallpox expedition, Dr. Francisco Balmis, and Richard see their missions collapse in defeat, Dona Isabel and Alma surmount their personal depressions to find inner strength.

Join us for another great conversation on Sun Dec 14th at 2pm in the Mission District, near 24th Street BART.

The discussion of continual enlightment

It was the story of Wangari Maathai's journey from rural Kenya to becoming a worldwide environmental leader trying to give Kenya and the world a secured sustainable future.

We started with an analysis of her memoir and how more factual than emotional it felt, and was this done on purpose or subconsciously?

We were quite intrigued by her divorce in so many ways: who was this man she married? who would have she become had she not divorced? as well as how discriminated she was for being divorced.

What about her role of mother? We felt her baby was the Green Belt Movement and not so much her children, but we're not exactly sure.

We couldn't stop talking about this book, and there was more to discuss had we not already gone over 2 hours of conversation! I think we all left the discussion with a feeling of inspiration and activism.