To see the full schedule of our discussions or for more information about the Reading With Hippos Book Club, click here.

It's Saturday—time for book club!

Today we're discussing the next three stories in the book Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The stories are: “Romaine Remains,” “Hazel Eaton and the Wall of Death,” and “The Autobiography of Allegra Byron.”

Here are some questions and initial impressions to get us started. Feel free to bring up your own questions and opinions in the comments. Any and all tangents welcome!

*What character did you identify with most? Were there any you struggled to connect with? I enjoyed “The Autobiography of Allegra Byron,” and I thought it was sad that her jerkface father couldn't be bothered to visit her even when she was on her deathbed, but that story didn't pull the emotional weight with me that I felt like it should have. I felt cold-hearted somehow, that I wasn't more broken up about Allegra's lack of parental love. I'm curious how others felt about this story, especially those of you who are mothers. Bergman says in the author's note at the end of the book that Allegra's story came together for her after she had her own children.

(Also, this is probably me being obtuse, but why was it called an “Autobiography” when the story was narrated by an adult caretaker and not Allegra herself???)

*Which story was your favorite? I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I actually liked the shortest story, “Hazel Eaton,” the best. When I saw how short it was, I didn't think I'd be able to connect to it very well, but I was immediately fascinated by Hazel and her death-defying lifestyle. I'm not a risk-taker myself (at all), but for some reason I felt like I “got” Hazel right away. The line near the end of the story, “What makes you empty and what makes you full?” hit me right upside the head with its brilliance.

*Honesty time: Was there a story you didn't like? I'm seriously struggling to come up with anything intelligent to say about “Romaine Remains.” There was no one to root for in this story—Romaine was a rude, entitled crone and Mario was an opportunistic skeezoid. And then he murders her at the end? Why?! For what purpose? Did he think he was going to somehow get to keep all her stuff? Help me out here, please. What am I missing?

Now I want to hear from you! If you're joining us in reading the book, please feel invited to join us in the discussion as well. And don't worry if you haven't read the stories yet—comments will stay open all month long, so you can come back to this post and share your thoughts whenever you're finished reading.

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So...what did you think?

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