AG Book Club :: Mrs. Mike
I’m so excited to be starting the 2016 AG Book Club. Our first selection is Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. Based on a true story around the 1900s, the book follows a young woman from Boston who meets and marries a Canadian mounty, only to follow him into the far north of Canada. Kathy and Mike’s lives are fraught with hardship, but also filled with love and rich friendships. In one beautiful scene, a Canadian veteran gives Kathy some timeless advice ::
You’ll see, you’ll come to understand. These big things, these terrible things, are not the important ones. If they were, how could one go on living? No, it is the small, little things that make up a day, that bring fullness and happiness to a life. Your Sergeant coming home, a good dinner, your little Mary laughing, the smell of the woods—oh, so many things, you know them yourself.
This had a deeply personal, very powerful effect on me. Lately I’ve been noticing that little things can shake me to my core. Especially at certain times of the day (right when I wake up, while I’m making supper, etc.), small things like Valentine spilling a cup of water or the prospect of a busy day can leave me with a surprisingly short fuse. I could say that I’m tired, hormonal, overworked or anxious, but all of these excuses started to wear thin as I read Mrs. Mike.
In one condemning scene, Kathy goes back to Boston to visit her mother and sisters. After enduring unthinkable horrors in Canada, she finds herself sitting at a table while a crowd of people nearly come to blows because of their irritation over a plate of burnt toast. Later, when she’s trying to explain her feelings to Mike, he says, “When little things are so important, it’s because there aren’t any big ones.”
My sister-in-law sent me this text after reading the book ::
I keep thinking about it today, especially what they said about treasuring the little things that are happy and not making the small hard things into big things. I’m trying to think of how to apply that to my everyday life here. I don’t face anything life threatening or dramatically hard like they did. But sometimes my life does feel hard, or challenging to me. It’s really powerful for me to think through. Like when my adolescent is angry (at me) and my toddler is throwing things in the toilet, I don’t want to be those people fussing about the burnt toast.
She said so well what I’d been thinking, and I’ve been praying for God’s help to give me perspective.
Anyway, I wanted to share part of my very personal reaction to the story, but I also recorded a short review of some other things I liked about the book ::
What about you? What did you think of the book? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment if you read the book and tell me what you thought. :) Here are some questions to get the ball rolling ::
- What did you think of the relationship between Kathy and Mike? What do you think was the secret to their chemistry and strength?
- If you were Kathy’s uncle, would you have “allowed” her to marry Mike and move to northern Canada? She loved Mike, but she didn’t have any idea of what kind of life awaited her. What would you have done?
- Who was your favorite character?
- Of all the difficult things that Mike and Kathy faced, what do you think you would have found most difficult?
- Do you think that life at that time and in that place was especially difficult for women? Why or why not?
- Do you think that Kathy should have returned to Boston? What effect did it have on her?
- Do you agree with the statement that, “It is the small, little things that make up a day, that bring fullness and happiness to a life”?
- What did you like about Mrs. Mike?
- What didn’t you like?
I look forward to reading your comments!