‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cry. But the salons have given me the opportunity to look back and think about my life…I don’t talk to anyone about these feelings outside of the salon.’
We all carry stories within us – wrenching, redemptive, extraordinary, and laced with unexpected and hard-won wisdom.
These are the real-life stories that a group of women tell each other when they gather for a deep and structured conversation – once a month in a suburban living room – about the things that really matter.
They discover that life can be a heartbeat away from chaos; that bad things happen to good people; that good people do outrageous things; that the desire for transformation is enduringly human.
A mother tells of the heartbreaking loss of control when her daughter develops anorexia. A sister reveals the high psychological cost of being hated by a sibling over the course of her life. Husbands leave wives; wives take lovers; friendships shatter; wrong choices turn out to be right ones; agency is lost and re-claimed.
The Sunday Story Club is a compilation of profound, heartfelt, true stories from everyday women who have experienced incredible events in their lifetimes.
Each of the stories possess a unique perspective, a touching, warm voice that guides the reader through a really private moment in their life.
This is non-fiction — each story is the true story of a real woman. The women are anonymous and have given their permission to be in this book; Doris and Kerry have met these women in their story club and have chosen the most affecting, the most moving stories to include in their work.
Sometimes, it feels like you’re reading someone’s diary. You’re shocked, upset, or worried, but you also feel like you’ve been given access to someone’s private moments — someone’s well-kept secrets.
“Inside, of course, there was nothing clinical, detached or objective about my experience. I was a human being, not a science experiment, and my feelings oscillated between hope and disappointment. The overwhelming emotion I felt during the IVF treatments was frustration.”
The Sunday Story Club is about memories, healing, bonding, relationships and regrets. It’s about the moments in our lives that we carry with us, perhaps in silent.
Profound, layered and clear-sighted, this collection of real-life stories reveals the emotional untidiness that lies below the shiny surface of modern life and reminds us of the power of real conversation to enlighten, heal and transform.
“The state of our hair was an anxious undercurrent to our day. If we had managed to emerge from the house with it straight that morning, that was wonderful and afforded us a moment’s relief as we looked in the mirror. But in half an hour’s time, and every half-hour after that, the internal question assailed us: was it still straight?”
Naturally, some of the stories resonated with me more than others. There’s a story about a woman whose husband leaves her one day while she’s at work — takes his stuff, empties their bank account, leaves a note, and abandons his wife and child.
There’s another woman whose father was an abusive alcoholic for most of her life. And another woman talks about her daughter’s anorexia — a dangerous illness that almost kills her.
These stories are all so different that I’m confident any female reader will be immensely affected by at least one of them. It’s impossible to read this and not feel for the women who experienced these events. One woman spent years and many rounds of IVF trying to conceive, only to experience joy on the final chance. How could that not affect you?
“My distress faded eventually. and I could at last think about what happened without a sense of heartbreak and shame. And when I observed our friendship from a distance, I saw that the clues to its demise had been there from the start.”
The Sunday Story Club brings a wonderful group of women into your life, their voices rising from the pages with clarity and ease. I recommend this to female readers, and regular readers of non-fiction. Each story is relatively short, so it’s the perfect read for the daily commute.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Sunday Story Club
Doris Brett & Kerry Cue
Pan Macmillan Publishers