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All Island Book Club to hold third meeting

By Staff | Mar 12, 2019

The memoir of a woman who was kept out of school by her survivalist family as a child, but later earned her doctorate after leaving them in her teens is the next pick for the island’s book club.

The All Island Book Club will meet on March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Captiva Civic Center. Its third gathering of the season, the meeting is free and open to the public – participants do not need to be a civic association member. The featured book will be “Educated: A Memoir,” by Tara Westover.

“Everybody is welcome,” CCA Vice President Merni Libonate said.

“We usually go for an hour and a half or so,” she added. “It’s a friendly, comfortable open group.”

Participants get to offer suggestions and decide on the book for the next meeting.

At the February meeting, a few people suggested “Educated.”

“A couple of people had read it, but they loved it so much they were happy to read it again,” Libonate said. “There are plenty of suggestions that are rejected, so everyone votes on what sounds good.”

Published in 2018, it is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe bestseller.

“Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home,” the book’s synopsis reads.

“It’s a true story written by a young woman raised in a home-schooled house, but with little real schooling,” Libonate said. “Her education is really about surviving the end of the days.”

Because of her upbringing, Westover had no real public mark – not even a birth certificate.

“One of her opening lines is about how she didn’t truly exist,” she said.

Yet, Westover overcomes those personal obstacles and excels.

“I think we’re all looking forward to this being another great discussion. To hear about someone who can really triumph over their surroundings,” Libonate said. “And her writing style is exquisite.”

Last month, the club talked about “The Plot Against America,” written by Philip Roth.

Published in 2004, the novel imagines an alternate version of American history in which Charles Lindbergh is elected president over Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. A heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures threatening to destroy his small safe corner of America.

“It was a wonderful meeting because it was such an interesting topic,” she said. “It was a really good discussion talking about how people are influenced by their leaders, how you can become a different person depending on how easily led you are and how you can also become more of a radical.”

The first selection of the season was Pat Conroy’s “The Water Is Wide.”

“We chose books that we not only find interesting, but that we think will also spark interesting conversation,” Libonate said of the group. “No one holds back – it’s a really good crowd.”

She encouraged people to come and take part.

“It never gets dull,” Libonate said. “And it’s much more than just about the book.”

The club’s last meeting of the season will take place in April.

For more information, call 239-472-2111 or visit www.ccacaptiva.org.

The Captiva Civic Center is at 11550 Chapin Lane.