The title might not tickle your fancy but don’t let that put you off.
Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club is the work of first time author Patricia van Stratum who has penned an unusual tale about a group of middle-aged Dutch folk and surprisingly, it works.
When the reading club members are asked by a controversial priest to keep a journal and write a piece for a commemorative 10th Anniversary Book, they set about the task with trepidation.
As each man begins to jot down his thoughts and feelings, he lays bare some of the more colourful aspects to his character, not to mention exposing hidden fetishes, painful pasts and insecurities.
Van Stratum does an excellent job of bringing the reading club members to life with her descriptive narrative, and despite none of the characters being very appealing, they are interesting by virtue of their peculiarities.
Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club describes itself as: ‘essential reading for anyone interested in the group behaviour of the middle-aged male, the sociology of an average Dutch town and the marks left by a rigorous Catholic education’, but that’s not strictly true.
Because if you’ve lived among the Dutch, or in any small town, and if you’ve experienced the petty politics of any kind of local club then you could identify with, and enjoy reading this.
So avoid the temptation to judge this book by its drab front cover because Confessions of a Dutch Reading Club is a well-written tale and a nosey peek at the foibles and eccentricities of the small town Dutch male.