“The Dinner Club” by Helen Aitchison is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. This book has a soul, and this soul saturates the pages with true, deep emotions you can’t just shake off when you finish reading. Not that you’d want to. On the contrary, you’d want to continue to bathe in the beauty and heart-caressing wisdom of this story forever.
Derek, Florence, Violet, Eddie, and Cara. I feel like I have gotten to know them, not just read about them. The author has introduced readers to – not created – people – rather than characters – who now hold a special place in my heart.
“If only we saw what was in the hearts and minds of people, rather than just their outer shells, the suits of pretence, the costumes of make-believe. People desperate to stay afloat.” So many times, I’ve pondered over people – even intelligent and kind – being reserved and distant when they see those around them grieve. I understand that it’s a coping mechanism, which, in a way, helps the world to move on, not crumble under each person’s problems and tragedies. But, on the other hand, the question that keeps bothering me is where is a limit to the self-preservation instinct being a justification for not helping those around you. When does self-preservation turn into cruelty and indifference? “People don’t know what to say around grief, so they try, and fail, to comfort.”
“The Dinner Club” isn’t solely about grief. Far from it! It’s a story about starting again, a hope renewed, new beginnings, and one person’s life making a huge impact on those who got to know that person. This is a story about the courage to look for who you really are. This is a story of people’s strength and determination to change their stars. And this is definitely a story that will make you laugh, cry, and dig out of your memory those things that you liked doing when you were a kid. The things that made you feel good – ecstatic even – about life and the future.
Helen Aitchison proves to us what we tend to discard as trivial – that life is beautiful despite myriads of sad, ugly, heart-breaking, and unfair things that happen to us along the way. The author draws out the beauty of the world, of the human spirit, and holds it firmly up above her head for all of us to see. Helen Aitchison does it with the most powerful weapon there exists – a word.
I loved the feeling of being transported across distance and time back to the years I had spent living in England. The author put me back to those days when a cashier at Tesco called me “love” and complimented my hair, and people walking their dogs or riding their horses on the coast path always said hello.
And the last quote from this amazing book I simply couldn’t not write down. “Social media could depress you chronically or uplift you immensely and absolutely nothing between.”
“The Dinner Club” is a story about people whom we meet at work, in a supermarket, walking a dog, jogging in the park. This is a story about what often hides behind their smiles and polite nods. This book with a soul of its own is a getaway behind other people’s facades and into their hearts.