The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

Library Journal said this book was “incandescently beautiful [with] passages about the challenges awaiting young women as they come of age. The story, filled with secrets and treasures, is a well executed, compelling look at attraction, love and trust.”

Poppycock, I say. Yes, this was my book club selection. You have no idea how I stress (in a good way) about which book to choose. The way our club is organized allows for each member to host once a year- meaning we choose the book, lead the discussion and feed everyone. So, with only one choice a year- you want to get it right. Well, I do.

The book I wanted to pick was Envy by Kathryn Harrison- but given that people were going to have to read it (partly at least) over the holidays, I thought it might be wiser to choose something a little less heavy. Which lead me to The Myth of You and Me.

The book is a light-weight look at the friendship between Cameron and Sonia, who meet the summer they are 15. Narrated by a soon-to-be-thirty Cameron, the novel traces, through flashbacks- their friendship, their personal histories, the men they love but I was never convinced of any of it and that may have to do with my lukewarm feelings about Cameron herself.

Early on in the book we learn that Cameron and Sonia have parted company. Some horrible event caused the unresolved rift in their friendship, but when Cameron’s employer Oliver Doucet dies, he leaves her with one last task: find Sonia. The rest of the book sees Cameron on a journey to to find Sonia and deliver a mysterious package.

Despite my reservations, Stewart makes several observations about friendship and relationships which I thought were really interesting and which I hope will lead to some good discussion when my book club meets.  I have a feeling people will be divided on this one. As for me- I had a mostly tepid reaction to the book.

Read another viewpoint


MY QUESTIONS

1. When Ruth and Cameron start to pack Oliver’s things up Cameron remarks: “It’s astonishing what a single life accumulates. These things we endow with a certain life- the possibilty that we might use them, the memory we attach to them- and then, when we die, they become just things again.”

What things do you save and what meaning do they have for you? Do you ever purge? What is something you own that is likely meaningless without the weight of your attached memory.

2. When we finally discover what ended the friendship- what is your reaction? How does it change your feelings about Cameron and Sonia? Is it enough of a reason to sever the ties between them?

3. While  Cameron searches for Sonia she meets Suzette again and remarks: “All at once it strikes me that as well as I know Sonia, I only know one version of her- that all you knopw of a life are the places where it touches your own.” Do you think it’s true that we offer people different versions of ourselves? Why? Who has the clearest picture of you?

4. Oliver’s  second letter to Cameron reveals the truth about his life and his story and, for me at least, offers the book’s most important lesson. Why do you think he waits to tell Cameron the story of Billie, the story of his life?

5. If you could track down one person from your past who would it be and why?

Reading  Guide
In addition, novelist Margot Livesay (who wrote the lovely novel Eva Moves the Furniture), asks her own questions at the back of the book.

FOOD

Chocolate Pavlova

6 egg whites
300 g sugar (1 1/3 cups)
3T cocoa powder, sieved
1t balsamic or red wine vinegar
50 g coarsely grated dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar and the chopped chocolate. The gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 9″ in diametre, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 300F and cook for 1 – 1 1/4 hour. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on the top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the meringue cool completely.

Serve topped with whipped cream and fresh berries (raspberries are perfect) and chocolate curls.

This is beyond yummy!
Serves 8-10

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One response to “The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

  1. Pingback: Body of a Girl by Leah Stewart « Read ‘em and eat…

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