Thanks for all your comments regarding the bizzaro book club I went to on Tuesday. As I've mentioned (about four hundred times now) it was the Everybody Reads book and as such, there was another book club at a different library on Wednesday. I went and kept an eye out for any professional 'facilitators'. This book club was at the Belmont Library deep in the heart of the People's Republic of Southeast Portland and could not have been more different. The librarian started out by having everyone introduce themselves and immediately asked if anyone had participated in any of the other activities related to this book that are going on around town. And from there... surprise surprise, people talked! About the book!! It was great.
We discussed the horrors that the boy soldiers are subjected to, and how similar attrocities are occuring throughout the world. One woman shared her experience of teaching young refugees who had lost arms & hands in the fighting. And older gentleman made comparisons to the style of fighting that took place in Vietnam. Another gentleman brought up the mineral trade (and exploitation there of) as one of the root causes of global conflict. We discussed the similarities between the indoctrination described in the book and the "training" that takes place at Parris Island (where my nephew just went through boot camp). The human capacity for both good an evil was a continuous theme in our discussion. Basically we talked about the book, we talked about life, lots of different opinions were shared and everyone got a chance to say something. It was wonderful. My faith in book clubs is restored. =)