A sharply intelligent and intimate debut novel about a secret society of hungry young women who meet after dark and feast to reclaim their appetites–and their physical spaces–that posits the question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?
Roberta spends her life trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. Stuck in a mindless job and reluctant to pursue her passion for food, she suppresses her appetite and recedes to the corners of rooms. But when she meets Stevie, a spirited and effervescent artist, their intense friendship sparks a change in Roberta, a shift in her desire for more. Together, they invent the Supper Club, a transgressive and joyous collective of women who gather to celebrate, rather than admonish, their hungers. They gather after dark and feast until they are sick; they break into private buildings and leave carnage in their wake; they embrace their changing bodies; they stop apologizing. For these women, each extraordinary yet unfulfilled, the club is a way to explore, discover, and push the boundaries of the space they take up in the world. Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta is forced to reconcile herself to the desire and vulnerabilities of the body–and the past she has worked so hard to repress. Devastatingly perceptive and savagely funny, Supper Club is an essential coming-of-age story for our times.
I loved the premise of this book — about women taking up space, finding out what they really want, not changing themselves for someone else, growing into who they want to be.
And there is this in Supper Club. Still, the execution did not work for me. I did not like this book much. The characters mostly annoyed me. I found the female friendships OK. The eating, drinking, doing drugs, etc to excess was difficult to read, but maybe that was the point. The men tended to be terrible, but maybe that was the point too.
Roberta was a shy character, she was drifting through life. She put up with terrible things from men. The Supper Club was a way for her to grow, but I felt like she didn’t grow all that much until the very end. Even after the Supper Club started, she got together with a man who didn’t want her to be herself.
Maybe that’s what is bugging me about this book. The women took all of this freedom and indulged in the Supper Club so they could grow but I didn’t really see them grow. Then there was massive change right at the end.
Overall, the premise was great, but the execution didn’t work for me.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.