By November 20, 2009 1 Comments Read More →

‘Pearls’ of Wisdom While Talking Up a “Storm”

True life adventure stories are popular selections for book groups and usually get selected as “guy reader” bait. These adrenaline-rush narrative quests appeal to some male readers for the action and to some women readers for the soul-searching introspection.

Last week I led a book group for Kansas City’s Junior League. They had chosen A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure and all were delighted to read such a thrilling and inspiring story. Although no men were present (Junior League members only), about half of the attending women said their husbands or boyfriends had picked up the book and started browsing through it. One woman was on her way to see her boyfriend after the meeting and give it to him.pearl

While the author’s harrowing battle with the hurricane was a highlight of the book, the attendees preferred to talk about what made this book different from other adventure stories. One reader immediately pointed out that a big difference for her was the fact that the protagonist was a woman. She said this book was more interesting for her with a female lead, but also noticed how differently the author was treated by other people in the story because of her gender.

One attendee said that at first she was angry with the author for purposely putting herself in a position of helplessness. The group had just finished discussing the author’s constant life struggle against he feeling of helplessness and her admirable aefforts to conquer it. But, as this reader pointed out, “why do this seemingly impossible thing when it onl produced more helplessness?”

As we discussed the book further, the other readers decided that this was not a foolhardy journey for the author to take. They liked how the author balanced the physical challenges with the personal ones.

One of the most interesting topics we mulled over was the character of Tori. All noted how genuine she was. She was someone everyone knew they could talk to at a dinner, a meeting, or on the subway. They liked her honesty and approachability. One reader mentioned that most adventure stories, and she admitted she was referring to the ones written by men, presented the protagonist as a human being with superlative physical gifts, “someone who is really not like anyone you’ve ever met or known” said a reader. Tori’s gift, one participant noted, was her determination and sheer force of will. “She’s like anyone you might meet anywhere. You wouldn’t be limited to just talking about her book.”

These are Junior Leaguers and they can talk to anyone about anything.




About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

1 Comment on "‘Pearls’ of Wisdom While Talking Up a “Storm”"

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  1.' Bernita Cauthon says:

    Thank you, Kaite: Delightful and lively discussion. Thank you for the post. If I hadn’t already read this book, your post and the discussion would certainly make me want to. Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri is a group of women doing well and doing good:, and yes, I certainly agree, they can talk to anyone about anything….whose up for discussing, Into Thin Air?

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