Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BOOK: The Film Club by David Gilmour

The Film Club, by David Gilmour, 242 pages

Canadian Book Challenge

My real life book club picked this for its September read. We are just getting started with our book club and are using our local library, so are limited by what books they have available for book clubs. (Do any other libraries do this? If I search the online catalogue for 'book club kits', there are several hundred sets of books, that come with discussion questions if you like, available to borrow for six weeks, with 10 books or so for everyone. Very cool.) We've only been meeting for a few months and this was our first non-fiction book.

David Gilmour is a Canadian CBC personality. I've seen him on The National and other shows; usually he's an Arts commentator, maybe reviewing a movie or a book. The Film Club is his recounting of the years he had a Film Club with his teenage son. It's actually a little more than that - his troubled fifteen year old son was not enjoying school at all, so Gilmour lets him drop out of school and he agreed to home school him, but just by watching and discussing a couple of movies a week, Dad's choice. [This prompted the biggest discussion, naturally. Really? We were a tad judgmental at this point.] The only rule he put on his son was no drugs, but Gilmour didn't seem to consider cigarettes or alcohol a drug, even for a fifteen year old. [More questionable judgments by us/me.]

While I don't think it is possible to read this without questioning the decisions that were made by the dad, it was still very readable, and we all liked it, regardless of what we thought of the choices. We all wished there was more discussions about the actual movies, as Gilmour knows a lot about movies. [Nice index at the back of all movies watched.] Much of the book also traced the son's romantic travails, and I wasn't completely impressed with Gilmour's view of women in general. He related all his son's problems to women problems in his own life. Gilmour lives an unconventional life compared to all of us in our book club, and this difference is what makes the book a learning experience. [For one example, taking a trip to Cuba with his son and his ex-wife, mom of the son, with only the promise of a money for a potential job in the future. Which of course fell through.] General concensus was more movies, less romantic issues.

The Film Club is a well-written, engaging book, that can definitely prompt much discussion about teenagers, child-raising, and different lifestyles. Plus, you will end up with a list of movies you will want to watch.