The first meeting of the Moodra Book Club discussed the book The Sandcastle Girls by Vermont author Chris Bohjalian. A romantic love story is deftly intertwined with the telling of the horrific genocide of Armenians by the Turks in 1915. Knowing that Bohjalian is of Armenian descent made the story feel very personal. Restraint, not bitterness or revenge carried the story along historically even when some histrionics would not have been misjudged by the reader.
Although the story was brutal it made us better informed about an area in geography and history that we knew very little about. We admitted that we went to the dictionary and atlas to learn more. Our biggest complaint was that the story was choppy in going back and forth between generations. We thought this device made it difficult to get emotionally connected to the two main female characters.
This book was a great book club choice. It challenged each of us to learn and acknowledge a topic we knew nothing about and possibly even took comfort in our ignorance.