Sunday, September 2, 2012

Circle of Friends Book for August: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

            The Circle of Friends Book Club met last week at Carole’s house, and, as usual, the food was amazing and the conversation engaging. At least, that’s what they told me. I missed it because I was in Nashville celebrating my grandson’s second birthday. Talk about being torn. I love seeing Brooks and his mother and dad, but I particularly wanted to be at this meeting as we were discussing Unbroken, one of my all-time favorite books. 

            No doubt, you’ve heard of this book by Laura Hillenbrand (of Seabiscuit fame) and  probably have read it. If not, RUN to your nearest bookstore, library, e-reader and buy, borrow, or download it. I promise, you’ll be entertained, engrossed, and inspired. I happened to be in Washington, D.C. when I read this book and, right after finishing it, toured the World War II Museum there. The combination of those two activities gave me a better understanding of that tumultuous period and a renewed appreciation for the men who served in that war. In times when there is so much criticism of the United States’ actions and involvement in world affairs, we can look to that event and know we got it right. 

            But enough of my ramblings. What were the “Friends” thoughts? Brenda, our de facto leader, was kind enough to take notes, and this is what she reported:

·         Judy (who taught journalism) felt the beginning was repetitive and “unjournalistic” in style. But once the action started, she was into it.

·         Elizabeth commented that Hillenbrand suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and was never able to personally meet with Louis Zamperini while writing the book. Some critics feel that “Zamperini’s personality suffered at her hands” because of this, while others say the writing was not affected by it.

·         Probably the question that most closely deals with the theme and title of the book was raised by Nicci: What can the human spirit survive? How strange it seems that Zamperini was able to endure the loss of a promising track career, a plane crash, being lost at sea for forty-seven days, and a Japanese POW camp, but what came closest to “breaking” him was post-traumatic shock disorder and alcoholism. What rescued him from those destructive forces was his faith and ability to forgive.

·         As a group, the Friends agreed this was a great book, some even saying it was the best book they’d ever read. Shelly said it was one of those books that you can’t get out of your mind and continue to think about even after you’ve finished it. I agree. Your thoughts? 

            On a lighter note, it seems the star culinary attraction of the night was Tomato Pie, prepared by Sandra. Sandra reports this recipe is “pure Paula Deen." I tried it myself and am both happy and sad to report that Bill and I finished a whole pie in two meals!




  1. I don't know what I loved more: the book or the tomato pie.

  2. I will definitely read this book now and also I am hopeful you will share the tomato pie recipe!


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