A friend texted me on Tuesday morning to ask if I wanted to go to Ajahn Brahm’s talk that night. I told her I’ll consider. I’ve enjoyed his talks. He is a humourous and engaging speaker. The topic for that night was on ‘Addiction’. Recently, I’ve been accused of being addicted to Scrabble and Korean dramas by my sister and husband. My sister often chooses the most inappropiate time when I’m in the middle of a scrabble game to MSN me, and Mike fights over the computer with me during weekends when I’m the middle of a game. Ditto for Korean dramas. Just because they caught me watching TV does not mean I’ve been doing that the whole time.
I declined to go for the talk, deciding that the topic held no relevance to me. And to prove it, I decided to cut off all Korean dramas (Ok, except for Ch U’s Cruel Temptation which is its last few episodes) for the time being to finish all my library books.
So, within three days, I finished reading Thursday at Eight, also getting enough dramas from it in the process.
This is a wonderful book about friendship between four women, who meet every Thursday morning at eight am at the same cafe, the same table and even the same seats (Humans are creatures of habits, says the author) to talk about their journals. The book begins on New Year’s Day and tracks their ups and downs through the year. We get an insight to their lives through their journals reproduced in the books, thereby bringing the pace a little faster.
Clare starts the chapter (and the year) still greiving over her divorce from Michael, who had left her for a women twenty years younger. In revenge, she sued him for their matrimonial assets and joined a rival car firm to compete against him. Both she and her two sons are estranged from Michael, although Alex, her younger son, has started to communicate with him. She receives support from her breakfast group, but really learns about life when she takes it upon herself to look after Michael when she found out that he was in the late stage of liver cancer.
Karen is a twenty-something actress still trying to get a part in a commercial. He mother is ashamed of her chosen career, preferring her to use her degree in teaching for a more respectable career, or be like her elder sister and marry a respectable man. Her relationship with both mother and sister is strained, but she resolves it when she helps her sister leave her abusive husband.
Liz is a fifty-plus widow whose children have all left home. She works as a hospital adminitrator and is flattered that a Pediatrician is pursuing her for sex. Her kids are concern that she has started dating again.
The last in the group is Julia, who is a mother of two self indulgant teenagers. Her elder son Adam has just got his driving license and is expecting a car from his parents. Younger daughter Zoe is expecting a vacation. Julia herself has just started her own business. Things become complicated when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. At 40, she has finally found time for herself and was totally not prepared for this. Both her kids are embarrassed that their mother is pregnant. The only happy person is her husband. However, all the resentment in the family disappears when she went into premature labour and baby Zak’s life is in danger.
Like most good dramas, the ending is touching and I actually teared when I read the last moment before Michael’s death. I’ve never seen a person die before, and only recently, the same friend who had texted me had described how she had witnessed her own cousin’s death from cancer – the laboured breathing, and then suddenly, silence, just like that. The book describes: Her pulse racing, Clare glanced at the heart monitor and watched the irregular beat of his heart. She reached for Michael’s hand, holding it firmly between her own as his body released it’s life… Then there was nothing. A beat. One solitary beat, followed by a flat line.
A great read.