This book was one of our most popular choices as a book club read. Usually there are a few members who don’t like the month’s choice, but for this book, only one person wasn’t crazy about it. In addition, we had a lot to discuss. First let me tell you what the story is about:
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. (from the publisher)
Here are a few of the things we talked about:
- We agreed that all the characters were well developed. We each picked a favorite and talked about that “person.”
- We talked about the conflicts in the story and how the characters could have or should have acted differently.
- Here’s our debate question: Which is more important: doing the right thing or personal happiness and why.
- The setting – a lighthouse island – served as a metaphor. The warm Indian Ocean meets the cold Southen Ocean. How does that speak to a theme in the book?
A really good book discussion is what makes a great book club. There was enough in The Light Between Oceans to keep us going for a couple of hours. It’s a book that an individual reader can enjoy on their own, but it’s always more fun to chat about that good book.
There is a movie made from the book. Only two of our members were able to see it. (Our local theater is very erratic. It was here only a little over a week.) The two members who saw the movie thought it did a good job of following the book. They also thought the movie did a good job of casting too.