It is 1994 and fifteen-year-old Guernsey schoolgirls Renee and Flo are not meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective Flo couldn’t be more different to extroverted, sexually curious Renee. But what they have in common runs deep. Loneliness, frustration, and the longing for escape from their dysfunctional families…
We have kick started another year of Book Club with a novel (chosen by moi) that fuelled an evening of reminiscing, debates and wotsits. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter turned out to be an interesting read for some and an uncomfortable read for others.
Over cheese sandwiches and party rings, the book raised a lot of issues and themes for the group that some found difficult to broach, like parents divorcing and teenage sex. Surprisingly enough, some of the group said they were dreading talking about the sex related issues in this book more than Fifty Shades of Grey which I found interesting as it demonstrates the gritty reality the book creates.
The home lives of Renee and Flo are pretty dismal. You either find yourself relating to their turmoils or saddened and appreciative of your own more secure family environments. There were a few funny moments, but it was agreed that these were hugely overshadowed by the heartbreaking and depressing reality that was infecting each character throughout the story. You honestly felt too sorry for them all to laugh at their misfortunes, however lighthearted the situation.
Beyond Tired Book Club Rating: 3/5
Although the book is rather sad, it will leave you reminiscing about your high school days; those spotty boys that made you cry, your first period (which reminds me of hunky Navy soldiers…but that’s a story for another time!). Bitchy friends and best friends and most of all how incredibly insecure and yet invaluable those precious years are in building the foundations of the adult you set out to become.
I am lucky enough to still have the good girlies in my life. The ones that got me through all the boring science lessons. Writing secret notes on lab paper to each other. Gossiping about the now trivial but then important issues that then consumed our little worlds. Friendships are everything and should be cherished.
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter | Book Club Discussion Questions
- One of the main themes of the book is friendship but what obstacles do the girls have to face?
- Loss is a major theme running through the book. Are any of the characters truly happy?
- Female characters dominate the narrative, how are male characters in the book portrayed?
- There are two narrative voices in the book, why has the author chosen this approach? Would a third person narrative have the same impact?
- What effect did the book have on you as you were reading it?
- Dawn O’Porter has said that the story was loosely based on her own teenage years- did you find the characters of Renee and Flo to be believable?
- Could you relate to the character and did it remind you of your teenage years in any way?
- Were you empathetic towards either of the main characters?
- Do you feel the book is ‘dated’, could it relate to all teenagers or more so to women of a similar age to Dawn, i.e. mid 30’s?
- The book’s plot is simple. There are no wild adventures or plot twists, did this effect your enjoyment of it? Were you hoping for something more of were you satisfied with the direction it took?
- Would you consider reading another book by the same author? (Dawn is currently writing a sequel called Goose, which is out next May)
- Did you have any dislikes about the book, if so how could it be improved?
Pin Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter For Later…