Friday, May 13, 2011

Bay Bookworms: Mildred Pierce

The winner - drawn randomly - of the Giveaway scarf bought in Barcelona is Torrie of A Place Share! Congratulations Torrie, email me your address and I'll send it right away.

This week my bookclub, Bay Bookworms discussed Mildred Pierce written in 1941 by James M. Cain.

It was at Kenny's house and he made sausage and broccolini pasta and tiramisu.

The book: Mildred Pierce is a fictional story set in Glendale, California in the Great Depression. It tells the story of a middle-class housewife who separates from her unfaithful, slothful husband and sets out to support herself and her two daughters whilst maintaining her social position. Eventually she is running three successful pie restaurants but her hardest work is appeasing her pretentious, ungrateful daughter. The book has risen to prominence again following the recent release of a HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet. In 1945 it was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Joan Crawford.

What we thought: 
Cameron: Her work ethic was commendable. I admired that she was willing to go against the trend and be a hard-working business woman. It wasn't that I disliked her, it was that I didn't understand her. How she continued to take back her daughter who was so mean to her. Ultimately, was it a period piece? Maybe in her heart she felt she wasn't worth anything. 

Luiz: It was very compelling... who's Mildred sleeping with today? I really wanted to read on! No matter how badly constructed the book was, I couldn't stop reading. It was not well written but was fascinating to read about the 1930's.

Jean: Mildred Pierce was inconsistent. She annoyed the hell out of me with the choices she made. Her personal life showed poor judgement and great insecurity.

Ellen: She was a challenged single mother – she couldn't have it all! (You can have it all, but just not at the same time.)

Nancy: An interesting character. She rose above the rules of the time but made some bad parenting choices. No one gets everything right in life and that is the point of being a human being. I admired her accomplishments for the era she lived in.

Martin: I just couldn't get into it. It was like reading a soap opera.

Susan: I really enjoyed the book. It is ironic how life is just a cycle for Mildred. She started as a housewife with Bert as a husband, and ends up years later with him again, but this time without her daughters. Does she still think the right daughter died? I felt Mildred did manipulate everyone around her and loved her daughter too blindly.

Kenny: Mildred is an example of a parent not knowing when to say no.

Jody: In the parlance of the time: what a dame! Frustrating that she forgave her daughter repeatedly even after her daughter did untold vile things, including sleeping with Mildred's husband and faking a pregnancy. Is that the moral of the story - you don't give up on your children no matter what? Others in the bookclub noted it seemed incredibly racy and promiscuous for it's time. Also Mildred was so business-savvy. Her pie cart business was used at the time as an example of the perfect no-overheads business.

Our next book is Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand, a WW2 story of survival, resilience and redemption. Read along with us!


  1. Oh I love that book! Congrats to the winner.

    P.S. If you participated in this giveaway please leave your comment again. Blogger re-posted it without the comments. I apologize and thank you.

  2. How exciting!!!!

    Such good news on a day like today!!

    Thank you!! Since I’m not going to Barcelona *any time in my near future, this is definitely the next best thing =). (an e-mail coming your way :)...

  3. Mildred Pierce, as you know, is just a favorite of mine. I was also taken with
    her entrepreneurial abilities! So glad you're back home safe and sound!

    xo Mary Jo

  4. Congrats to the winner! Hmm, i've never read that book before. But it sounds really interesting.


  5. Yay Torrie! I'm jealous because I totally wanted that scarf, but glad Torrie won it :)

  6. Our book club read Unbroken this month! It is an incredible story!

  7. interesting. will look it up. never even heard of it.
    i would love to see the series as well, and the film for that matter. love both winslet and adore crawford.

  8. i've read a lot of good reviews about kate winslet's performance in the mini series. i will definitely add this to my list! :)

    <3, Mimi

  9. Wow sounds like an exciting book, esp for that time. What a strong, powerful woman. I think this would be a great read for my husband and I. Were looking for a book to read together. :) I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

  10. The plot sounds very interesting! I haven't heard of that miniseries either. I love Kate Winslet.


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