I am not sure of the psychology behind this, but every month I find myself resisting reading the book chosen by the dozen women in my book club. Even if it's a book I chose myself! This was one I had not heard of until I was told this would be the March choice.
And it seemed like a book that would not be very discussable. Lots of times, the books I like the most turn out to lead to poor discussions.
I am not sure about the discussability of THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: NINE AMERICANS AND THEIR EPIC QUEST FOR GOLD AT THE 1936 BERLIN OLYMPICS, but I sure enjoyed reading it. A book about rowing? Seems improbable that anyone could make it a page turner but David James Brown succeeded.
The reason he was able to do this was because he was able to pull in so much beside the University of Washington's rowing program in the thirties. The book looks at the problems of poverty in the 1930s, the dust bowl, Nazi German's rise to power, the Olympic movement, the story of rowing itself, the lives of the coach, the boat builder and some of the athletes. Most especially it gave us the life of Joe Rantz, a rower who had an exceptionally hard childhood. His summer job while in college was hanging from cliffs and using a 75 pound drill to build a damn. Most of the boys came from humble means, which means we cheer for them all the more. Brown was especially adept at exploring the psychology of successful rowing. A very particular sort of sport.
I enjoyed this book immensely and am anxious to hear what my book group members think of it.
For more book reviews, go see Barrie Summy.