Supper Club
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.

Supper Club Details

TitleSupper Club
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN-139780525539582
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Feminism, Food and Drink, Food

Supper Club Review

  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    (4.5) There's something in the water in 2019. It's been a bumper year for books by and about young women, books that talk about contemporary life in smart, fresh, subversive ways while remaining relatable. These books embrace feminism without taking the tedious dystopia route. They explore 'coming of age' without telling the types of stories that have been written a million times. They're all very different, but I feel inclined to group them together: Bunny, The New Me, Everything You Ever Wante (4.5) There's something in the water in 2019. It's been a bumper year for books by and about young women, books that talk about contemporary life in smart, fresh, subversive ways while remaining relatable. These books embrace feminism without taking the tedious dystopia route. They explore 'coming of age' without telling the types of stories that have been written a million times. They're all very different, but I feel inclined to group them together: Bunny, The New Me, Everything You Ever Wanted, Fake Like Me, The Paper Wasp, The Furies, Necessary People, and now Supper Club, the first novel by Lara Williams. I will admit that Williams' debut collection of short stories, Treats, didn't grab me, but this is a different animal altogether – it worked for me on every level.In Supper Club, Roberta and her best friend/housemate Stevie start... well, a supper club. It's a way for Roberta to indulge her love of cooking; it's a series of wild parties; it's a living art project. Members can give their appetites free rein, whether those appetites pertain to food, drink, drugs, sex, dancing, art, or whatever. This is a space where women are invited to be unapologetically greedy and unselfconscious. But Supper Club itself is best described as a good hook to hang the whole thing on. It's a beguiling idea, and probably the first thing you'd mention if you were describing the book to someone else; really, though, this story is about Roberta's life. And Roberta, happily, is brilliantly realised.Reading Supper Club was sometimes an eerie experience. I've hoped, for a long time, that a book would come along and enumerate my specifically awful experience of university – I thought Saltwater might be this book, and it wasn't – and now, here at last, unexpectedly, here it is. And set in the city I studied in, no less. In the present day, Roberta is in her late twenties, but her experiences of ten years earlier are the foundation of her character (and therefore the whole story). From her student days to her career to the minutiae of the way she thinks and feels about herself, observing Roberta was like peering through a portal at an only-slightly-different version of myself in some alternate universe. I must, therefore, say that some of my love for the novel was about seeing myself in this character and, naturally, feeling fiercely attached to her from the start. Another similarity between the books I mentioned earlier: the reviews, and even the official blurbs, rarely do them any justice whatsoever. Across different editions, Supper Club has been compared to Normal People, Fleabag and 'Cat Person', none of which make much sense to me. It got a starred review from Publishers Weekly, but the write-up they gave it is terrible – not even accurate, and misses everything that's engaging about the story. If we're doing comparisons, here are mine: it's the younger and slightly softer cousin of Emma Jane Unsworth's Animals, with its two close-knit friends whose lives end up heading in different directions; and like Stephanie Danler's similarly food-focused Sweetbitter, it understands that there is more than one coming-of-age moment in a person's lifetime, and those that come later are often the most significant.I don’t know how to feel about the ending. I wanted something more definite, I think. But I suppose I would say that, having seen myself reflected so sharply.Supper Club was an intensely personal experience for me, but I think I can hold it at arm's length enough to say it is objectively good. The lavish food writing and high-concept premise make it memorable, but I loved the universality of the core story – finding and losing friends and lovers; what happens when life doesn't quite go to plan. The broader plot and the smaller details are equally strong. This is a gem.I received an advance review copy of Supper Club from the publisher through Edelweiss.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Jessica Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    This evocative novel is built around such a fierce and exciting premise: a group of women hungry for something more in their lives form a secret society called the Supper Club, where they get together every few weeks and feast on decadent foods all night long until they’re sick. They take drugs. They dance. They trash their surroundings. They put on weight. They reclaim their appetites in every sense: indulging their hungers both literally and figuratively; taking up space in a world where women This evocative novel is built around such a fierce and exciting premise: a group of women hungry for something more in their lives form a secret society called the Supper Club, where they get together every few weeks and feast on decadent foods all night long until they’re sick. They take drugs. They dance. They trash their surroundings. They put on weight. They reclaim their appetites in every sense: indulging their hungers both literally and figuratively; taking up space in a world where women are expected to do the opposite.Roberta is the protagonist of the novel and she has spent much of her life trying not to take up space. Apologizing for everything. Compartmentalizing herself to fit in with the people around her, but never feeling like she’s enough. Enduring a series of men ranging from disappointing to downright abusive. She’s pushing 30 when she meets the confident and free-spirited Stevie and they come up with the idea for the club—based in part on Roberta’s love of cooking that she cultivated over the years to give herself a sense of purpose.Finally, Roberta is coming out of her shell and indulging herself like never before—but then an old crush comes back into her life. Unlike the other men from her past, he’s a good person who treats her well. But her budding relationship with him threatens the progress she has made and forces her to question what she really desires most—and what will make her feel truly fulfilled.Timely and perceptive, this unique coming-of-age story is full of keen observations about modern life, lush descriptions of food and repressed female rage. I found myself wishing that it had gone in a darker direction to do justice to the carnal, decadent premise, and I was less interested in the relationship sub-plot than the supper club, but by the end it’s clear that this is above all else a Bildungsroman story, and it was a pleasure to indulge in it. (Extra points to the author for an absolutely perfect final few paragraphs.)
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    “What could violate social convention more than women coming together to indulge their hunger and take up space?” Roberta and Stevie become instant besties when Stevie is hired as an intern at the fashion website where Roberta has been a writer for four years. Stevie is a would-be artist and Roberta loves to cook; they decide to combine their talents and host Supper Clubs that allow emotionally damaged women to indulge their appetites. The pop-ups take place at down-at-heel or not-strictly-legal “What could violate social convention more than women coming together to indulge their hunger and take up space?” Roberta and Stevie become instant besties when Stevie is hired as an intern at the fashion website where Roberta has been a writer for four years. Stevie is a would-be artist and Roberta loves to cook; they decide to combine their talents and host Supper Clubs that allow emotionally damaged women to indulge their appetites. The pop-ups take place at down-at-heel or not-strictly-legal locations, the food is foraged from dumpsters, and there are sometimes elaborate themes and costumes. These bacchanalian events tend to devolve into drunkenness, drug-taking, partial nudity and food fights.The central two-thirds of the book alternates chapters between the present day, when Roberta is 28–30, and her uni days. I don’t think it can be coincidental that Roberta and Stevie are both feminized male names; rather, we are meant to ask to what extent all the characters have defined themselves in terms of the men in their lives. For Roberta, this includes the father who left when she was seven and now thinks he can send her chatty e-mails whenever he wants; the fellow student who raped her at uni; and the philosophy professor she dated for ages even though he treated her like an inconvenient child. Supper Club is performance art, but it’s also about creating personal meaning when family and romance have failed you.I was slightly disappointed that Supper Club itself becomes less important as time goes on, and that we never get closure about Roberta’s father. I also found it difficult to keep the secondary characters’ backstories straight. But overall this is a great debut novel with strong themes of female friendship and food. Roberta opens most chapters with cooking lore and tips, and there are some terrific scenes set in cafés. I suspect this will mean a lot to a lot of young women. Particularly if you’ve liked Sweetbitter and Friendship, give it a taste.Some favorite lines:“What I needed was sustenance. Fortification. The act of cooking imposed a kind of dignity on hunger, which had become terrifying.”“After talking about things we were watching on Netflix, Dadaism and what you can do with softened tomatoes, we decided it would be a good idea to dance.”“My whole life was the push/pull of appetite: wanting to consume, but also to be consumed.”“‘I find cooking sort of a radical act,’ I said. He continued staring at the road. ‘Oh yeah?’ he replied, just mildly amused. ‘Oh yes. It’s the transience. All that time for a fleeting pleasure. Nothing else is like that.”“I got out my phone again and watched it with a feeling of wildness and urgency: this stupid metallic slab that I poured so much of myself into.”
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    When describing what Supper Club is about - women seeking to have a positive relationship with food and their bodies, female friendships, women who want to take up space and reclaim their bodies, bodies which men have often taken advantage of. I've seen comparisons made to Fleabag: The Original Play, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Animals and The New Me, other recent novels with (the very of the moment) "unlikeable female protagonist(s)". Of these I'd say Supper Club is probably most comparable When describing what Supper Club is about - women seeking to have a positive relationship with food and their bodies, female friendships, women who want to take up space and reclaim their bodies, bodies which men have often taken advantage of. I've seen comparisons made to Fleabag: The Original Play, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Animals and The New Me, other recent novels with (the very of the moment) "unlikeable female protagonist(s)". Of these I'd say Supper Club is probably most comparable to Animals and The New Me, but Supper Club is something else entirely.And yet... it didn't come together for me. There was a bit too much going on, the pacing was off at times and the random descriptions of food jarred for me. Unfortunately the great premise wasn't enough to make up for the issues with the story.Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Books UK for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Patricia Highsmith's Snail
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this - some really great lines and never boring. I'm not sure that the supper club premise was as developed as it could have been but it all comes together in the end, with the parallel timelines of the narrator's present and her college years satisfyingly converging. The recipes at the start of each chapter were a good touch. Like Treats, her short story collection, much of the novel centres on bad and/or misguided hetero relationships (and here, one grey area lesbian or bi relationsh I enjoyed this - some really great lines and never boring. I'm not sure that the supper club premise was as developed as it could have been but it all comes together in the end, with the parallel timelines of the narrator's present and her college years satisfyingly converging. The recipes at the start of each chapter were a good touch. Like Treats, her short story collection, much of the novel centres on bad and/or misguided hetero relationships (and here, one grey area lesbian or bi relationship/friendship, which could have been further explored). Sometimes I wondered what was keeping the narrator (and founder of the club) in her straightrelationships but I think she's delineated enough for it to be just about believable. The writer wanted to pack a lot in, 'issue-wise'. Intense verging on romantic same-sex relationships, depression, rape, body image, self-harm, misogyny, isolation, working in poorly paid transient jobs. It mostly works and a lot of that is down to the flashes of brilliance in her prose.
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just Wow. I really don’t know what I expected out of the book, but I’m really happy with what I came out with. This story was incredible. A true testament to the changing female identity from when you’re young and awkward to when you finally think you have your life figured out. All in the span of 10-ish years. This is a book I wish I read when I just graduated from college. I found a lot of myself in Roberta, the protagonist, and my heart broke with her that the world didn’t treat her righ Wow. Just Wow. I really don’t know what I expected out of the book, but I’m really happy with what I came out with. This story was incredible. A true testament to the changing female identity from when you’re young and awkward to when you finally think you have your life figured out. All in the span of 10-ish years. This is a book I wish I read when I just graduated from college. I found a lot of myself in Roberta, the protagonist, and my heart broke with her that the world didn’t treat her right the first time she tried putting herself out there. I also really loved Stevie, her best friend, and how she practically symbolized ever freewheeling girl I always admired, but was way too scared to become. Their evolving friendship tied in with Roberta’s character growth was really compelling. The ending was also very satisfying. This will be a great read for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Conversations with Friends, The Idiot, Sweetbitter, and Fates and Furies.**Read thanks to an ARC from Putnam**
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  • Marco
    January 1, 1970
    Look, I've read the reviews so far - you either love it or you didn't. It's either 1/2 stars or 4/5. But I can tell you, you've never read a book like this before. And if you've ever had questions about where you fit in and how, you'll identify. This is not a "feel good" book, that's not what you're getting here, or even a introspective story - this is more real than those fake books.Do you ever think sometimes the life you're living - you're living it as an imposter? And this is an actual thing Look, I've read the reviews so far - you either love it or you didn't. It's either 1/2 stars or 4/5. But I can tell you, you've never read a book like this before. And if you've ever had questions about where you fit in and how, you'll identify. This is not a "feel good" book, that's not what you're getting here, or even a introspective story - this is more real than those fake books.Do you ever think sometimes the life you're living - you're living it as an imposter? And this is an actual thing, it's called "Imposter Syndrome" - looking at others around us - put together, looking a certain way - and think "They truly live in their own body and mind. They don't have to think outside the box. Because for them there's never been a box."This is what "Supper Club" by Lara Williams is about.I've never read a novel more real about anxiety of the social norm, the question - When do we actually become a full-fledged human being?This is the question facing main character Roberta who tells her story in alternating timelines through college, her career(s) afterward, and her relationships throughout. After meeting the eccentric intern Stevie (only 2 years her junior), the two start a 'supper club' full of debauchery and indulgence of food, a renegade faction whose joy has either halted or been stolen and are choosing to recapture it.Through changes, her estranged father who sends her e-mails, her mother whose life is starting over again, Roberta has suddenly seen life has moved on. Was she ever in it? Can she get back in?And there are pieces of her past she has to reconcile before she can. But with the antics of the Supper Club becoming more and more dangerous - it threatens to destroy her current relationship, her friendship with the ladies whose stories they tell to one another in secret, and maybe even her own sense of self.With diverse, intriguing characters and an intense storyline that kept my interest for a whole day of reading, this is in the running for one of my top books of 2019. This is unlike anything you’ve read and is ready for the big screen."Supper Club" will be out July 9th, 2019. Superbly done. I couldn't put it down. It's still in my head.I think the author did a really well job looking at someone who has to stop apologizing for taking up space and deal with past trauma. I never felt frustrated with the character because her decisions were not based on anything volatile, it was just what she was used to. In that way, this character defies convention.She's not "quirky" or "different", in fact, Roberta is the most real character I've ever read. And the food is just a bit part of it. I know some will concentrate on the idea that this book discusses food as a way to rebel or that by gaining weight through eating they are rebelling, but that misses the point. The point is to reclaim the notion that everyone puts in your face, but rarely expects you to actually do : Be yourself.So if you want to eat, why can't we? The real problem comes when the club starts to get more dangerous in its conception. And then this puts the novel into its existential question: Who are we? And what do we want?If you didn't push the limits - would you ever find out?Get it now. Really, I think you'll enjoy it if you know what you're getting in to.
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  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful, thrilling piece of fiction from an amazing author. SUPPER CLUB was not easy to get through, but it was worth the journey. I would call it a complicated piece of feminist literature, and would be very interested to see what other, smarter people think of it in that regard.The idea of a feminist bacchanal is perhaps not the most original idea, but I truly appreciate the author’s attempt at making it current, wild, and urgent. Your heart will break for Roberta, but you’ll root for her A beautiful, thrilling piece of fiction from an amazing author. SUPPER CLUB was not easy to get through, but it was worth the journey. I would call it a complicated piece of feminist literature, and would be very interested to see what other, smarter people think of it in that regard.The idea of a feminist bacchanal is perhaps not the most original idea, but I truly appreciate the author’s attempt at making it current, wild, and urgent. Your heart will break for Roberta, but you’ll root for her as well - she is a wonderful protagonist and makes the novel what it is.
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  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    This book is structured around the premise that bucking beauty standards by pigging out and getting fat is revolutionary and a feminist protest -- except EVERYONE is overweight now. According to the WHO, in 2014 (five years ago at this point), 62% of adults in the UK (where this book is set) were overweight or obese. That statistic has only gone up. It's like getting a tattoo to be rebellious, except everyone is tattooed now. NOT getting a tattoo would be the act of rebellion at this point. Bein This book is structured around the premise that bucking beauty standards by pigging out and getting fat is revolutionary and a feminist protest -- except EVERYONE is overweight now. According to the WHO, in 2014 (five years ago at this point), 62% of adults in the UK (where this book is set) were overweight or obese. That statistic has only gone up. It's like getting a tattoo to be rebellious, except everyone is tattooed now. NOT getting a tattoo would be the act of rebellion at this point. Being a glutton isn't an act of radical feminism. It's just being a glutton. Be radical by taking care of your damn self. And don't get me started on the "feminist" notion that apparently all women are secretly lesbians, which this book trumpets -- what nonsense.Roberta is a sad sack; Stevie is a giant ball of crazy; this book is supposedly "Fight Club" for disillusioned workforce white-lady Millennials...but it's not. It's Diet Fight Club, lacking any of the anarchist glee of Palahniuk and instead wallowing in a self-inflicted fog of passive nothingness. How fucking tedious.
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  • Sian
    January 1, 1970
    It's rare I give a book 5 stars nowadays but this book truly spoke to me. It felt like Fleabag but written about me, everything from the intense knowledge about food to the loneliness of feeling like you don't belong. I found so much of myself in Roberta that there were many moments of her pain that I cried through and I felt so incredibly understood. A wonderfully written book about a girl who just wants to be told what to do, only to realise that life doesn't work that way.
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  • Coreena McBurnie
    January 1, 1970
    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 w 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.
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  • trisha
    January 1, 1970
    I really didn't enjoy this book. I understood some of the points she was trying to make e.g. appreciating our bodies whatever the size. I thought the gorging and vomiting was disturbing and really unpleasant to read about. I feel she's missed the point she's seemingly trying to make. and I found it uncomfortably lacking in the feminism for which she's reaching..
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  • Red Newsom
    January 1, 1970
    I'm that sort of idiot who will pause mid-paragraph to take a photo of a particularly nice sentence. With Supper Club gave up snapping a few pages in, because the writing is so consistently good; everything means something, there's nothing lazy or slapdash. All killer, no filler.This is a story of flawed females, friendship and food. I imagine "fight club but with food" will be an easy-in descriptor for Supper Club. Ironically, I ate SO MUCH over the day and a half it took me to devour this book I'm that sort of idiot who will pause mid-paragraph to take a photo of a particularly nice sentence. With Supper Club gave up snapping a few pages in, because the writing is so consistently good; everything means something, there's nothing lazy or slapdash. All killer, no filler.This is a story of flawed females, friendship and food. I imagine "fight club but with food" will be an easy-in descriptor for Supper Club. Ironically, I ate SO MUCH over the day and a half it took me to devour this book. Roberta is both a sympathetic and unsympathetic character. You'll either be frustrated by her ("just try harder!") or you'll see your own experiences magnified on the page (ouch). Switching between the past and present, the pacing of the novel is excellent and genuinely thrilling.I was very lucky to borrow a proof of Supper Club off a friend, before its release. Do yourself a favour and preorder it!
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  • Lorri Steinbacher
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting concept. The disaffected millennial woman trying to figure out her place in the world when society is telling her she's living in a post-feminist world, but her lived experience is telling her something different. For fans of Sarai Walker's Dietland and Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation
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  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    January 1, 1970
    Summary: The writing was clever and enjoyable, but the plot was a bit dark and ambiguous for me.This isn't your traditional supper club! Roberta starts the supper club with her friend Stevie as a way to push boundaries, break social conventions, and make space for themselves. Their secret meetings provide a freedom that the women involved are all struggling to find in their daily lives. "Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta" (source) will be forced to reconsider h Summary: The writing was clever and enjoyable, but the plot was a bit dark and ambiguous for me.This isn't your traditional supper club! Roberta starts the supper club with her friend Stevie as a way to push boundaries, break social conventions, and make space for themselves. Their secret meetings provide a freedom that the women involved are all struggling to find in their daily lives. "Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta" (source) will be forced to reconsider her priorities, decide what she wants out of life, and come to terms with her hidden past.I really enjoyed the writing in this book and the concept of the supper club. I thought both were very clever. The writing felt 'literary' to me, so now I"m going to try to pin down what I mean by that. The author definitely wasn't afraid to use a complex vocabulary. She had fantastic descriptions that made me think about the world in new ways. She wrote about every day events in such a way that they felt important. The story made me think about feminist concepts; convention vs art; and freedom vs responsibility.The mundane details the author included made the story feel real. I could vividly picture each scene. Smart chapter titles enhanced the dark humor of some chapters.As clever as the book was, I felt like the author must be trying to make a point, but I wasn't sure what that point was. There were random recipe descriptions throughout which I couldn't always connect to the story. The characters' behavior was sometimes so extreme, it seemed difficult to draw any general conclusions from their story. The ending was ambiguous on what I thought was a main tension of the book, between freedom and responsibility. Although I don't like to feel an author is lecturing me, I would have liked to have a clear takeaway from the way this freedom/responsibility conflict played out in our protagonists life.Despite enjoying the writing style, the darkness and ambiguity of the plot meant this book wasn't really my thing. If it sounds like a better fit for you, I think this could be a book you'll love, because it's certainly well done.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey
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  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    January 1, 1970
    Those evenings, sitting on the living-room floor, laptops to our sides and an array of paper scattered across the floor, drinking wine and listening to music, were suffused with a warmth like nothing else I'd ever felt. I thought of it as the same feeling people get when planning their wedding. It felt enormous and essential and transitory: this papier-mâché beast that we were trying to carve into form.Did I like this book? Or did I hate it? I'm going to split the difference and just say "yes".T Those evenings, sitting on the living-room floor, laptops to our sides and an array of paper scattered across the floor, drinking wine and listening to music, were suffused with a warmth like nothing else I'd ever felt. I thought of it as the same feeling people get when planning their wedding. It felt enormous and essential and transitory: this papier-mâché beast that we were trying to carve into form.Did I like this book? Or did I hate it? I'm going to split the difference and just say "yes".To stave off loneliness in college, our narrator Roberta takes up cooking. But this isn't one of those sumptuous, charming foodie novels that has your mouth watering; instead, there was something a little gross, slightly dank, and funky about the food. (Williams has our narrator observe that our appetites tip close toward revulsion.) There was an extreme focus on body that reminded me of Otessa Moshfegh and Siri Hustvedt; same with the myopic self focus of our main character.Roberta comes under the thrall of a reckless friend, Stevie; their relationship is obsessive. With Stevie, Roberta's cooking transforms into the Supper Club, a feminist, living art project in which women eat until sick. Drugs, drinks, dancing -- they brazenly take up space. For Roberta, it's freeing.The dinner clubs aren't the heart of the story, though; Roberta's challenges with space and relationships, her own self-worth and her future are at the center. I think I would have adored this book in my 20s; now, freshly 40, I was a little exhausted by the drama and our narrator's anxious ennui. But so much of Roberta's anxieties were resonant, familiar, although her deeds were foreign to me. (For all her worries about being boring and tame, she was pretty daring, I thought.)There was this thing with weight gain and women taking up space that I'm not sure about; it felt discomforting and a tiny bit fetishistic, but as an obese woman I think my experience with space and body weight and eating is different than these characters struggling with 30 lbs.This would be a brilliant book club read; I'm filled with questions after finishing, and I need someone(s) to chat it out with me. (view spoiler)[Which relationship was the damaging one for Roberta: Stevie or Adnan? Did Arnold out-and-out hurt Roberta, with all these crazy accidental injuries, or were they really accidental? (hide spoiler)]
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  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    There's a small distance in this book between reader and prose, one that occasionally bothered me -- and the promise of the Supper Club ends up being backgrounded to an individual woman's grappling with sexual trauma and friendship and ~life~ (I went in hoping for a bit more of a feminist Fight Club thing, which IS present but this book isn't a thriller or anything pulse-pounding) -- but overall, I really found myself compelled by this novel. Williams delivers a poignant look at a young woman wh There's a small distance in this book between reader and prose, one that occasionally bothered me -- and the promise of the Supper Club ends up being backgrounded to an individual woman's grappling with sexual trauma and friendship and ~life~ (I went in hoping for a bit more of a feminist Fight Club thing, which IS present but this book isn't a thriller or anything pulse-pounding) -- but overall, I really found myself compelled by this novel. Williams delivers a poignant look at a young woman whose life has been battered by various circumstances, trying to figure out where she ought to be as she hits her 30s. She scathingly indicts the attitudes of men (good men, bad men, indifferent men), corporate culture, advertising, patriarchal views of femininity, and sprinkles in some delicious narrative-recipes to boot. And there's something tremendously powerful about the enduring image of these women in Supper Club giving over fully to their appetites, a major middle finger to the powers that be.
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  • Hannah England
    January 1, 1970
    Fed up of being pushed to conform and keep quiet, Roberta and Stevie set up Supper Club; a club for women to eat and drink to excess, to gain weight if they wish to, and to behave in ways that society says they should not. Every woman at Supper Club has their own story to tell and their own reasons for wanting to join the club. From unhappy childhoods to abusive relationships, the women come together to celebrate themselves, their bodies and their desires.Recipes are woven into the text, each on Fed up of being pushed to conform and keep quiet, Roberta and Stevie set up Supper Club; a club for women to eat and drink to excess, to gain weight if they wish to, and to behave in ways that society says they should not. Every woman at Supper Club has their own story to tell and their own reasons for wanting to join the club. From unhappy childhoods to abusive relationships, the women come together to celebrate themselves, their bodies and their desires.Recipes are woven into the text, each one relevant to the plot, and written in such a way that you can almost taste the menu. The book has a visceral feel to it, leaving the reader feeling both hungry and sickened. There are many clever observations within this novel. Towards the end there is a particularly poignant passage about the weight that women carry around with them. In addition to this, others put more weight upon us and expect us to carry this without complaint, whilst we struggle to meet our own needs.Frank and unapologetic, Supper Club is an exciting and refreshing read. It digs deep into the injustices women put up with and sometimes do not even notice. It considers the way women might behave in relationships, and the way relationships with men might affect our friendships with other women. Above all, it is about allowing ourselves to take up the space in the world that we need, and that is rightfully our own.Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    RTC. Some gorgeous writing but material flaws for me personally—the dumpster diving and Selfridge’s scenes were a bit much and undermined her feminist themes in my view.
  • Rhiannon Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Supper Club by Lara Williams is definitely not a mainstream "everyone will love it" book. I am putting it in the "difficult to love but I appreciate it" category, right alongside The Goldfinch and The Golden Child. Supper Club initially interested me in that the main storyline is about a secret society of women who gather to eat, but the book as a whole focuses on art; artistic expression; and women's relationships with food, friends, and lovers. Overall, I had a few problems with the timelines Supper Club by Lara Williams is definitely not a mainstream "everyone will love it" book. I am putting it in the "difficult to love but I appreciate it" category, right alongside The Goldfinch and The Golden Child. Supper Club initially interested me in that the main storyline is about a secret society of women who gather to eat, but the book as a whole focuses on art; artistic expression; and women's relationships with food, friends, and lovers. Overall, I had a few problems with the timelines and the cooking instructions (while matching the theme) felt out of place. Trigger warnings for rape, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse.
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  • Siobhan
    January 1, 1970
    Supper Club is is a riotous and cutting book about food, taking up space, and female friendship. Supper Club is started up by Roberta and Stevie for fellow hungry women, looking for a chance to eat and drink to excess and to exist in ways and places that society doesn't want. Roberta got into cooking at university, feeling alone and looking for something to take up her time, something to feel, but now, aged twenty-nine, she finally wants to revel in sharing food together. She and Stevie gather w Supper Club is is a riotous and cutting book about food, taking up space, and female friendship. Supper Club is started up by Roberta and Stevie for fellow hungry women, looking for a chance to eat and drink to excess and to exist in ways and places that society doesn't want. Roberta got into cooking at university, feeling alone and looking for something to take up her time, something to feel, but now, aged twenty-nine, she finally wants to revel in sharing food together. She and Stevie gather women looking for something else, fed up of other people and men and societal expectations, looking for a way to fulfil that hunger.This is a clever, modern novel that focuses on bodies, anger, and relationships with other people. It moves between the story of Supper Club and Roberta in the present, and the story of Roberta at university and how she was formed into the person she is. Williams mixes in with these descriptions of cooking and recipes that make the book feel fully infused with food and with the joy of it, the smells and textures and processes. It is a very visceral book, reflecting the subject matter, and will delight anyone who enjoy modern stories with satirical edge and a harsh eye on women's treatment in society.A book that will make you hungry and disgusted at once, Supper Club is a bacchanal for the modern day and a story of female friendship and power.
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  • Tara O'sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    Supper Club is a bold and exciting and occasionally challenging book. It follows Roberta as she learns to push back and explore and accept her own identity, in partnership with a diverse group of women with one thing in common: Supper Club. Started by Roberta and her best friend Stevie, their anarchic feminist supper club is about taking up space, experiencing food, indulging and expressing themselves. Their hedonistic evenings are framed by a back drop of Roberta’s personal life, a history of c Supper Club is a bold and exciting and occasionally challenging book. It follows Roberta as she learns to push back and explore and accept her own identity, in partnership with a diverse group of women with one thing in common: Supper Club. Started by Roberta and her best friend Stevie, their anarchic feminist supper club is about taking up space, experiencing food, indulging and expressing themselves. Their hedonistic evenings are framed by a back drop of Roberta’s personal life, a history of controlling and abusive relationships and a fear of putting herself out there. Lara Williams writes extremely well, and I really enjoyed the way that she used detailed descriptions of food and recipes to echo what was happening in Roberta and Stevie’s lives. It is a timely and thought-provoking book, slightly uncomfortable at times - but isn’t that a good thing?
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. First let me say, I do believe these (gastro-novels/foody novels) are quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. This one did not disappoint and I even learned several cooking tips - SCORE!However, the book is about much more than food. I found myself relating with the main character, Roberta, in her struggles to be accepted by others and mostly by herself. I doubt many women will be able to read this without at I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. First let me say, I do believe these (gastro-novels/foody novels) are quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. This one did not disappoint and I even learned several cooking tips - SCORE!However, the book is about much more than food. I found myself relating with the main character, Roberta, in her struggles to be accepted by others and mostly by herself. I doubt many women will be able to read this without at least some recognition of her struggle to accept herself as she is, and not as how others view her. It focuses on almost all female stereotypical problems (betrayal, feeling left out, not knowing how we fit in or if we even want to) and the way society expects us to be a certain way, even if that is not the way our own desires lead us. Which is right - living a suppressed life that is socially acceptable or stealing our happy where we might find it? Do we try to mold ourselves to what society expects or do we live for the moment, for the ME, for the freedom to pursue our desires?I really enjoyed this book.
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  • Gigi
    January 1, 1970
    Fucking loved it. Perfect for fans of Ottessa Moshfegh, Sally Rooney and Halle Butler, I wanted 500 more pages of its raw and powerful literary gluttony.
  • Ilyssa Wesche
    January 1, 1970
    This was Fight Club meets Dietland, for me. I appreciated Roberta's inner struggle, but it was at times maddening, as we all can be. And I'm not necessarily sure the woman embraced their bodies other than when they were at Supper Club - which is okay, but it wasn't as transformative so much as following them on part of their journey.I did get a little lost sometimes, as the novel flows back and forth through time.
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  • Susan Sherman
    January 1, 1970
    Although an interesting concept, I found the execution sad. Do women need to take up more space or their own space? At times the book was confusing, but then it is a confusing time for most women. I want to thank Lara Williams for some of her sentences. They will stay with me for a long while
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    I recieved an electronic copy of this book for my honest review "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?"This book was just okay for me. A 2.5 out of 5 stars. I may give it a re-visit in the future. Actually, I know I'll give it another go. The premise was good but for some reason I recieved an electronic copy of this book for my honest review "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?"This book was just okay for me. A 2.5 out of 5 stars. I may give it a re-visit in the future. Actually, I know I'll give it another go. The premise was good but for some reason I had a hard time.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved Supper Club, it is filled with women that are learning to overcome the repression of a patriarchal society with the aim to break out of the societal norms and expectations, as well as the constructed female stereotypes. This is an uplifting novel, one where the women, especially the main protagonist Roberta, find their tribe and their own identity - they let loose, laugh and just live how they want to, over delicious homemade food! I feel that Lara has penned a revolutionary p I absolutely loved Supper Club, it is filled with women that are learning to overcome the repression of a patriarchal society with the aim to break out of the societal norms and expectations, as well as the constructed female stereotypes. This is an uplifting novel, one where the women, especially the main protagonist Roberta, find their tribe and their own identity - they let loose, laugh and just live how they want to, over delicious homemade food! I feel that Lara has penned a revolutionary piece of literary art, that in my opinion would be the perfect novel to include on various educational reading lists from English literature to sociology and women's studies. Phenomenal.I adored Roberta, her personality and hardships spoke to me on a multitude of levels. She begins to attend university, where she believes a friendship group is automatic and there will be this instantaneous connection between herself and her flatmates. Roberta was wrong, she became the invisible member of the accommodation friendship circle, no matter how hard she tried she was constantly pushed aside and labelled as odd. Roberta begins to focus all her feelings to food, where it's seen as the ultimate tool that creates an air of togetherness. For the first few chapters of Supper Club I was completely unaware of Roberta's name, I think this was a show on her feelings of being unseen. It wasn't until Roberta met Stevie that we finally knew her name - she finally became seen.I enjoyed how the foodish theme was stitched into the strong narrative. The injected theme of food is a differentiating variable, that is central to bringing these individuals together. The ability to create delicious foods is a constant in Roberta's life which I think mirrors her need for comfort and stability - the meaningfulness entwined into this novel is layered and meaningful, that is both bold and unapologetic.The theme that flows throughout is women who have a hunger for something more than food, love, rebellion and job. The drive to speed towards a free world, where they rebel and break in to closed premises, they want more out of life than just everyday. A powerful creation of a journey in which Roberta frees herself solitude with the key that is Stevie, her world is spun into that of a wild one. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, Roberta suffers her own toxic demons along this way that only she can claw herself away from - she's developed from a weak mouse of a woman to a one that is filled with self - love and strength. Completely admirable.Supper Club is a at times disjointed, but enjoyable novel journey of freedom; physically, mentally and spiritually, while not resting from anything less than your worth. Before you can love others, you need to love and rely on yourself, that is where your strength is. I thought this was a story about a woman realising that she doesn't need the approval of a man to be happy. This is a captivating read with heaps of meaningful themes that run parallel to one another, as well as colliding that will leave you pondering and delving deeper 'between the lines'. Lara has created a  absorbing dialogue that is filled with a multitude of emotions and realistic characters.This is a women's fiction novel that is an utterly breathless portrayal that shouts loudly about a woman's hunger for more than food and I will scream it from the rooftops, read it! Buy it for yourself, a friend or even request it at your local library because it is something quite special.
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  • Corina Romonti
    January 1, 1970
    I'd say it's almost 3. I loved the concept but expected a lot more from it and it ended up not delivering.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    This feminist book about female friendships and taking up space in the world is full of lovely sensory detail and would be a good pick for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
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