Twenty-nine year old Roberta has spent her whole life hungry – until the day she invents Supper Club.
Supper Club is a secret society for hungry women. Women who are sick of bad men and bad sex, of hinted expectations to talk less, take less, be less. So they gather after dark and feast until they are sick. They drink and dance and roar. And, month by month, their bodies expand.
At the centre of the Supper Club stands Roberta – cynical yet anxious, precocious and lost. She is seeking the answer to a simple question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?
This is a story about the hunger that never goes away. And it is a story about the people who make us what we are – who lead us astray and ultimately save us. You look hungry. Join the club.
Supper Club is an enjoyable read, featuring some unlikable characters and a slightly strange storyline (though very hard hitting in some places) which means I found myself unsure of what I really thought of it, once I’d got to the end!
We know that Roberta is a flawed main character – I certainly found it hard to warm to her at various points because of her and Stevie’s actions what they do feels childish and just plain self-indulgent. They’re relatively priveleged women who are behaving in a very selfish way, putting other people’s livelihoods at risk for what? Some of the actions they take are unexcusable and seem to completely against the normal actions of anyone their age – but this is also one of the reasons why they, as the ‘Supper Club’, are doing it.
Roberta herself doesn’t seem to have much of a backbone at times, and can be quite hypocritical – one example is when she discusses with horror her manager’s fishing habit and how it cruel it is for the fish, but then on the next page is speaking about the meat she enjoys for dinner and likes to cook with. There are lots of other examples peppered throughout, and Stevie also manages to take a strong stance on many subjects whilst simultaneously caving spectcularly on other issues you’d think she’d care about.
But despite all this I did like Roberta – she felt like a real character: someone not perfect, with her own flaws and who makes mistakes, and although this did annoy me at times, at least she seemed real.
There are various deep issues explored in this novel – I don’t want to give too much away but between main character Roberta and her friends and relationships, the book explores sexual assault, female friendships, insecurity, privelege, body image issues and much more. There is a part where Roberta says how, when she had gained weight, visits to the doctors would always result in them blaming whatever ailment she had on the fact she was overweight, instead of seeing the real reason. I’ve heard a lot of people I know say the same – which is awful. She has been through some other really horrible experiences, and I felt that these parts were dealt with very well by the author.
The book jumps backwards and forwards in time a lot, which at times got a bit confusing – I wasn’t always sure which timeframe we were in, especially when some characters from the past started to come into the present day. There are also some parts which felt a little long – namely some of the paragraphs on cooking. For example, the section about caramelising onions went on far too long and for me didn’t add anything to the story.
Despite finding a lot of the characters’ actions silly and irritating, I still enjoyed Supper Club and would recommend it. The book questions how important the role of friends and particularly of men in modern women’s lives are – and how important should they be? What makes us satisfied with the lives we have, and what makes us want to break out of routine and responsibility? Roberta and her friends offer an interesting examiniation of this.