S4L Book Club–No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

S4L Book Club - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective AgencyHey, Everyone. This is Jen crashing Becca’s post. I want to say thank you to Chrissie for being our first reader-volunteer Book Club Leader. Personally, I enjoyed being on the other side, trying to answer the questions. I want to learn to think more about what I read. I also want to thank everyone who shared an opinion, too. Sometimes your thoughts help clarify mine.

I’m really, really, really enjoying this. I hope you’ll keep reading (or start reading) with me.

All right. Back to Becca.

Were you drawn into this story? If so, when did it happen? If not, what do you think was missing to engage you?

Categories: Reading

4 replies »

  1. I was definitely drawn into the story, but it was rather late in coming. Or, perhaps more accurately, I was drawn in during the first chapter, and then tossed out in the second when Mma Ramotswe’s father took over the narrative. That was a long flashback, but it skipped around and covered a lot of ground, too. I was unsure where we were going, and the skipping around and only briefly touching on many different things didn’t especially draw me in.

    I think there are a number of ways to be drawn into a story. One is drama. Drama is gripping. We want to know what happens next. This book is not what I’d call dramatic.

    Another way I’m drawn in is by getting involved with the characters, and that takes time. The flashback of history presented snippets that might have been too short to let me get involved.

    It was pleasant enough reading–I especially like the culture and setting–but I wouldn’t say it was a gripping start. I think some of that history could have been woven in less noticeably throughout the main story, which is what I’m calling the story about Mma Ramotswe as a detective.

    I thought it was a strange and risky beginning.

  2. I agree completely. Although I loved the writing and description of the story from the beginning, I wasn’t initially drawn into the story itself. I liked the history and pathos of Chapter 2, but felt that it was choppy and the change of POV was strange. I did like Mma Ramotswe’s reflection on who writes the stories of ordinary people. (Rebecca Skloot?) Like you, I feel that the history might have been better incorporated in smaller bits throughout the story.
    I think I became truly drawn in in Chapter 6 when th boy is introduced and was fully in the story’s sway in Chapter 8 when Mr. J.L.B Matekoni says “We don’t like to talk about it. It’s the thing we Africans are most ashamed of. We know it happens but we pretend it doesn’t. We know all right what happens to children who go missing. We know.”
    Many aspects of the Botswanan culture evoke the culture of the Navajo people with whom I work. Including witchcraft and the attitude towards it. Does anyone else have experience with a culture that seems to have one foot in the present and one in the past? It is an element I love in the book and here in Indian Country.

  3. How interesting. I imagine that the native cultures here in AK might provide an environment similar to yours, but I’m not part of it. I’ve spent time in remote villages and interacted with Natives in the villages while caretaking, but those were fairly short experiences.

    The whole witchcraft thing escapes me. I do not relate. I often find it frustrating. For instance, a Native elder told us a story about how villagers killed the last male muskox in a herd because “it had scorpions.”

    When I inquired what he meant by “scorpions” he described actual scorpions, which, as far as I know, do not live in the arctic.

    I see the decimation of a herd and do not understand the scorpions reference which necessitated the killing of the last male.

  4. Further evidence, perhaps, of the migration from Asia. It is tragic when custom leads to something so senseless.
    I should make it clear that witchcraft in the Navajo culture does not include killing people for “medicine”. But there is an underlying belief that some people can make bad things happen and a pervasive reluctance to talk about it.