Supper Club by Lara Williams
A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites–and their physical spaces–that posits the question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?
Roberta spends her life trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. Stuck in a mindless job and reluctant to pursue her passion for food, she suppresses her appetite and recedes to the corners of rooms. But when she meets Stevie, a spirited and effervescent artist, their intense friendship sparks a change in Roberta, a shift in her desire for more. Together, they invent the Supper Club, a transgressive and joyous collective of women who gather to celebrate, rather than admonish, their hungers. They gather after dark and feast until they are sick; they break into private buildings and leave carnage in their wake; they embrace their changing bodies; they stop apologizing. For these women, each extraordinary yet unfulfilled, the club is a way to explore, discover, and push the boundaries of the space they take up in the world. Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta is forced to reconcile herself to the desire and vulnerabilities of the body–and the past she has worked so hard to repress. Devastatingly perceptive and savagely funny, Supper Club is an essential coming-of-age story for our times.
Lina was the first.
Supper Club is one of those books that is so difficult to review. I have never read anything quite like it, but it is not the kind of book that I could just recommend to just anyone- I would have to have an understanding of your reading taste first. It is dark, honest, gritty, and difficult to read at times. Williams really goes there and makes the reader feel uncomfortable, which I appreciated.
Supper Club has a lot of say about women, our bodies, and our right to take up space. I thought that the idea behind the supper club was genius and I loved that it gave these women the opportunity to let go and to truly be free. Even though I did not always agree with their actions, I understood and connected with each of their motivations. I think a lot of women will relate to these characters in some way. They are far from perfect, and their relationships with one another are often complicated. I thought it was an interesting look at how jealousy, envy, and resentment can threaten friendships.
I have been sitting on my feelings for a few days now, and I just can not get this book out of my head. It messed with me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I think it will be one that I come to appreciate more and more as time goes by.
Also, can I just say that Lara Williams is a brilliant food writer?! I would read an entire book of just her describing food and cooking in great detail. I was not expecting to learn how to caramelize onions or make sourdough when I picked up Supper Club. She does a brilliant job of demonstrating how messy and dare I say erotic cooking can be. It added a whole other layer to the story.
I would highly recommend Supper Club to the right reader. It is hard for me to put my finder on exactly who the right reader is. If you like dark, feminist novels that make you feel uncomfortable than look no further. If you loved The Water Cure as much as I did, I do not think you can go wrong with Supper Club. It just might make my top ten books of the year!
Thank you to Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of Supper Club in exchange for an honest review.