1st Wednesday book club – The idea of home by John Hughes

The idea of home is the title for NSW voted by many people for National Year of Reading.

When the First Wednesday book club meet this month they discussed “The idea of home by John Hughes”.

In ‘The Idea of Home’ John Hughes writes about growing up in the HunterValley coal-mining town of Cessnock, in a household dominated by memories of the Ukraine, which his mother and grandparents were forced to flee during the Second World War. (excerpt from NoveList Plus)

One member said it’s a memoir for a family not for the public. It was poorly written and self-indulgent but they preservered with it.

Another member said they almost finished it, it was self-indulgent, with recollections of childhood. It was well written but cannot recommend it, as it was too introspective.

Another readers view was that the author is a good writer, and the book works well when read as essays, they admired the effort to establish idea of home, admired the struggle with what he was supposed to do with life, and related to the book.

Another member said it was excellently written, they read it as essays and not as a continuous piece. It had great descriptions of events in childhood.

Another member really enjoyed it! It was self-indulgent, but autobiographical, with several things that rang true, with many interesting things about growing up in other cultures. Book contained comments that stuck in his mind, and felt that you can’t write about someone else without writing via own prism. He indentified with going from “big fish to small fish”.

Another reader said that the supervisor at Cambridge was extremely manipulative, and the book was brave in many ways. Writer did not appreciate England, and was disappointed by Cambridge.They had a foot in two cultures and the walk by the grandparent was extraordinary.Worth reading!!

The last member did not like the book and did not finish reading it.