The Reel Sisters and Their Men

Use this forum to discuss the February 2018 Book of the Month, "The Reel Sisters" by Michelle Cummings.
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Miriam Molina
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The Reel Sisters and Their Men

Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Feb 2018, 23:40

One can say that this is a woman's book. The author is a lady, the main characters are all girls, and even the dog is a she. Do you think it was a good strategy to give the men only supporting roles?

Who among the men (fathers, husbands, exes and boyfriends) had the most impact? Would the story have been the same without men in the picture?

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Post by Kieran_Obrien » 18 Feb 2018, 12:20

I think it would've been a better book if the men were left out of it completely! Sophie's entire character arc revolves around her finding a man. Thatcher is just kind of there... he does nothing. As for Amanda's husband, well he really felt like he was being used as a plot device so that Amanda would have a reason to storm out of the house at the end...

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Feb 2018, 18:01

Yeah, you have a point. The women were such strong characters; they overpowered the men in the cast.

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Post by Nhorhata » 19 Feb 2018, 08:12

Its so interesting how the women over power the men...its a rare kind of story thats speaks women impowerment...

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 19 Feb 2018, 09:31

The book is explicitly gynocentric celebrating the female bonds and women as a natural nurturer. The male characters are all relegated to the periphery merely functioning as appendages to the central characters. In fact, in a very subtle way the author champions gender fluidity in the characters of Thatcher who dons the role of a chef and a homemaker to a globetrotting entrepreneur spouse and Mike who is now forced to don the role of a single parent. This is a conscious reversal of the traditional male gender roles. The negation of gender stereotyping in reiterated in a casual conversation between the characters to remove the suffix man from the word ‘fisherman’ and thereby neutralize the gender associations. The reference to Dame Julianna Berners who wrote a book on fish flying in the 1400 in the mans world and claiming that women have better listening, patience and observation to fly fish better than men all seem to allude or call for a change in the world around us from being too androcentric.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 19 Feb 2018, 13:02

Wonderful insights and observations, Jeyasivananth. The author should have chosen the Amazon River for emphasis, LOL!

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Post by CommMayo » 21 Feb 2018, 12:24

Jeyasivananth wrote:
19 Feb 2018, 09:31
The book is explicitly gynocentric celebrating the female bonds and women as a natural nurturer. The male characters are all relegated to the periphery merely functioning as appendages to the central characters. In fact, in a very subtle way the author champions gender fluidity in the characters of Thatcher who dons the role of a chef and a homemaker to a globetrotting entrepreneur spouse and Mike who is now forced to don the role of a single parent. This is a conscious reversal of the traditional male gender roles. The negation of gender stereotyping in reiterated in a casual conversation between the characters to remove the suffix man from the word ‘fisherman’ and thereby neutralize the gender associations. The reference to Dame Julianna Berners who wrote a book on fish flying in the 1400 in the mans world and claiming that women have better listening, patience and observation to fly fish better than men all seem to allude or call for a change in the world around us from being too androcentric.
Yeah, what she said!

All kidding aside, I really do agree with a lot of the points that Jeyasivananth brings up. So much of the fiction that has been written for women still focuses on the idea that a woman must have a man in her life to be complete. It is refreshing to read books where the women are capable and a man who is more home-based isn't viewed as neutered and useless.

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 21 Feb 2018, 20:13

Ooops....i forgot i posted that in a forum...i just asked u to read that passage from my review...you have obviously read it...sorry...any nice discussing stuff with you!!

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 21 Feb 2018, 20:18

Miriam Molina wrote:
19 Feb 2018, 13:02
Wonderful insights and observations, Jeyasivananth. The author should have chosen the Amazon River for emphasis, LOL!
Thank you for your kinds words Miriam !! Have you reviewed the book as well...please do share the link with me if so....

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Post by Nhorhata » 22 Feb 2018, 00:35

Jeyasivananth wrote:
19 Feb 2018, 09:31
The book is explicitly gynocentric celebrating the female bonds and women as a natural nurturer. The male characters are all relegated to the periphery merely functioning as appendages to the central characters. In fact, in a very subtle way the author champions gender fluidity in the characters of Thatcher who dons the role of a chef and a homemaker to a globetrotting entrepreneur spouse and Mike who is now forced to don the role of a single parent. This is a conscious reversal of the traditional male gender roles. The negation of gender stereotyping in reiterated in a casual conversation between the characters to remove the suffix man from the word ‘fisherman’ and thereby neutralize the gender associations. The reference to Dame Julianna Berners who wrote a book on fish flying in the 1400 in the mans world and claiming that women have better listening, patience and observation to fly fish better than men all seem to allude or call for a change in the world around us from being too androcentric.
You've got the strogest review😍

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 22 Feb 2018, 11:36

Thank you so much for your kind words...

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Post by bookowlie » 23 Feb 2018, 14:56

Jeyasivananth, you made some very good points! In this book, the men are basically in the background and aren't fleshed out too much. Thatcher is the always cheerful, always helpful husband, but we don't get to know him too well. He seemed like the gender flip of a helpful, supportive wife. In the latter sections of the story, Sophie's boyfriend isn't fleshed out well and just seemed to be a plot device for her to finally have a romantic partner. Amanda's husband's storyline is a little more detailed, but I felt the focus was still on her reactions to him being away and then having PTSD when he came home.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 23 Feb 2018, 17:55

I feel like the men had a reason to be there, but if they were given greater roles in the story, it would have diminished the essence of the story, the women's friendships.
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Post by bookowlie » 25 Feb 2018, 10:41

CatInTheHat wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 17:55
I feel like the men had a reason to be there, but if they were given greater roles in the story, it would have diminished the essence of the story, the women's friendships.
You make a good point. It's always a balancing act for an author to keep some characters in the background so the main premise is not watered down. In this case, it would have probably taken the plot even more off track if the men had been featured more, since there were already five main characters!
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 25 Feb 2018, 11:55

bookowlie wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 14:56
Jeyasivananth, you made some very good points! In this book, the men are basically in the background and aren't fleshed out too much. Thatcher is the always cheerful, always helpful husband, but we don't get to know him too well. He seemed like the gender flip of a helpful, supportive wife. In the latter sections of the story, Sophie's boyfriend isn't fleshed out well and just seemed to be a plot device for her to finally have a romantic partner. Amanda's husband's storyline is a little more detailed, but I felt the focus was still on her reactions to him being away and then having PTSD when he came home.
Yes , your observation are spot on. There so many characters left with so much wanting. It is one of the reasons i gave book only three stars.Many characters are flat and undeveloped.

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