Welcome to our first week of book club here at the blog!
Today, we’re diving straight into Sally Clarkson’s new book, Girls’ Club.
And, yes, I am beginning– not with chapter one- but at the introduction. (More on why I’m doing this later in this post!)
Over the next twelve or so weeks, we’re going to read- and discuss- Girls’ Club together right here at the blog. I’m so glad you’re here!
An online book club really is all about community!
Here are a few specific ways to stay connected to others who are Girls’ Club’ing with you:
- Follow Kristy’s Cottage blog on FB. I’ll be sharing weekly updates and discussion questions, so be sure and give us a “like” and then follow so you can participate!
- Follow Kristy’s Cottage blog on Instagram. Just another way to stay connected! (While you’re at it, follow the author of Girls’ Club, Sally Clarkson, on Instagram too.)
- Join me on GoodReads. I’ve created a group just for this book club on GoodReads. You can join right here!
- Subscribe to receive my “Weekend Reads” email every Friday. Prefer to read new posts by email? More info on how to do that here.
Admittedly, I am one of those oddballs who reads the introductions of books.
The reason is simple:
Because I feel like in order to truly understand a book, I need to get inside the mind of the person who wrote it.
My rule of thumb is typically this: if the author wrote the introduction, then I will most assuredly take the time to read it.
(Sometimes I skip an intro written by someone other than the author.)
So, yes, we are starting off this book club at the introduction to Sally Clarkson’s book, Girls’ Club.
Skipping over the first twenty or so pages of this book is to risk missing the “why” behind its message.
And the message- cultivating lasting friendship in a lonely world– is much too pertinent to women in our culture to miss any part, however insignificant it may seem.
I’ll be honest, what struck me most deeply about Girls’ Club, as a whole, is the raw honestly of its narrative.
Sally and her daughters, Sarah and Joy, are painfully honest and human throughout this book- including the first cluster of pages under the header of “introduction.”
This quote from Sally, from page eight (midway through the introduction) more or less makes the case for why the book was written in the first place, and why I think most women should read it:
Loneliness was one of the motivations for the Girls’ Club through the years.”
I found this confession refreshingly honest.
Girls’ Club was inspired-not by a great idea- but by a human need.
So what exactly is a “Girls’ Club?”
What does a “girls’ club” have to do with loneliness?
And how could an entire book be written about such a club?
Sally Clarkson explains how the origins of what came to be known as “the girls’ club” came into being:
As I began to grasp and appreciate this kind of intentional mentoring, love, and encouragement in my own life, it became a poignant focus of relationship that I wanted to pass on to my daughters [Sarah and Joy]…
One of my overriding goals was to mentor them in their faith… Out of this desire came a commitment to regularly gather over many years and to grow in our friendship and to become kindred spirits with one another.
Over a period of time, we dubbed our threesome ‘Girls’ Club.’ We don’t know how the name evolved, but somehow we began to refer to our times together this way, and the phrase stuck.
When we would plan an evening together, we would say, ‘We have Girls’ Club tomorrow night,’ and we all knew what that meant.”
-quote from Girls’ Club introduction, page 5
Is Girls’ Club just for moms?
Although Sally Clarkson’s primary audience is, in fact, the mom in the trenches, Girls’ Club encompasses women at every season of life.
Sally shares openly about her own need for community and friendship, even as a seasoned woman in her sixties.
Sarah, a newly married wife and mother, shares candidly about her struggles with friendship, identity, and finding community as a single woman in her twenties and thirties.
Joy, the youngest Clarkson, speaks for the millenial generation whose ideals of friendship have been misshapen by the entourage of technology and social media in our culture.
Joy poignantly states,
Out of our [Girls’ Club] grew a culture of womanhood. I grew up thinking women were mighty and gentle, capable of feats and extraordinary behavior…
Perhaps this is why I feel such wild discontentment with the state of friendship in our world. I think that friendship is so much more colorful, crucial, and challenging than most people let it be.
This book is concerned with the making and keeping of soul friends.”
-Joy Clarkson, quoted from Girls’ Club, pages 18 & 19
I hope that, by now, I’ve persuaded you to peruse the pages of the introduction to Girls’ Club!
If you don’t already have a copy of this book, and the companion, Girls’ Club Experience, please click over to Amazon and order yourself a copy of both.
For me, experiencingGirls’ Club is so much more than simply reading yet another good book.
These are words of guidance from women who have experienced the ache for community and friendship, and discovered the paths of wisdom that lead women out of isolation.
I hope you’ll stick around to journey through this book with me!
And I promise we’ll get to chapter one next Friday. (Just promise me you’ll read the introduction!)
Here are a few points of discussion that formed in my heart as I took in the first few pages of Girl’s Club:
- In the introduction, Sally Clarkson shares her idealism as a mother, and how her personal and family loneliness caused her to cultivate community and friendship with her two, young daughters.
- That raised a question in my heart: how many of us experienced that cultivation of relationship with our mothers when we were girls?
- What kind of examples of friendship and community did we see modeled in our homes?
Chances are, we have either passively reenacted that example in our own lives, or we have had to intentionally reframe our thinking as adults.
What about you?
- What kind of model for friendship and community do you see yourself presently living out?
- Is it different from or the same as what you saw lived in your growing up years?
- Most importantly, what are you modeling for other women and girls (maybe your own daughters)?
Drop me a comment and let me know
(1) if you’ve read the introduction of this book, or if you plan to, and
(2) what kind of friendships and community you saw modeled in your life growing up.