Book Club – 17th July 2013 – Jackie Kay – Red Dust Road

After a break for the Book Club since March, we had a lot to discuss at our last meeting. Eight members met to discuss Red Dust Road, a memoir by Jackie Kay. The book description sums it up eloquently:

A heart-warming book that answers the question: how do you define “family”?

Once, as a small child, she realizes that her skin is a different color from that of her beloved parents, Jackie Kay embarks on a complicated and humorous journey to treasure the adoptive family that chose her, track down her birth parents—her Scottish Highland mother and Nigerian father—and embrace her unexpected and remarkable life.

In a book shining with warmth, humor, and compassion, she discovers that inheritance is about more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells and that our internal landscapes are as important as those through which we move.

Taking the reader from Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, Red Dust Road is revelatory, redemptive, and courageous, unique in its voice and universal in its reach. It is a heart-stopping story of parents and siblings, friends and strangers, belonging and beliefs, biology and destiny, and love.

The overall consensus was that everyone enjoyed the book and and got a lot from it. The book described Jackie’s childhood as a mixed race adopted child in Scotland and her subsequent journey as an adult to find her birth parents. Jackie’s life hasn’t been an idyllic skip through childhood, she experienced lots of racism, passive and deliberate. However, her adoptive parents equipped Jackie with an amazing ability to see beyond lots of life’s disappointments. The humour and humility throughout the book is very humbling and I think the majority of us who read it felt we had gained a lot from it that will stay with us.

We briefly discussed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Stay Close from the previous cancelled meeting, it was a stretch for our memories to recall the two. The GLPPPS was well received and remembered fondly by those that had read it. Stay Close was a little less memorable. A good page turner, holiday read, but not one with a profound memorable story line.

We discussed lots of our recent good reads and settled on the summer read choices. If you would like to join in the next discussion on 18th September we are reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey and/or Little Face by Sophie Hannah. If anyone is up for a third bonus option at the request of some of the super fast readers we also thought The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Simon Mawer looked like a good read.












Next meeting: Wednesday 18th September, 7.30 pm Pavilion Bar, Ruskin

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