Thank you for Visiting

This book club provided an opportunity to discuss books with authors from 2009 - 2013. I like to think we were a group of daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, well... women finding time to meet while juggling daily life.

I hope you enjoy exploring The Manic Mommies Book Club Archives. We read 46 books over the years, with audio or written author discussions for each book read documented on this blog.

~ with kindness & gratitude, Mari

MMBC: April & Oliver Discussion begins today!

The Manic Mommies Book Club is a year old this month!

Congratulations to everyone who read with us in 2009 and we welcome all of those who will be reading with us in 2010.

If you read April and Oliver but didn't have the chance to join the call I do have a few questions for you. As always, you can answer any or all of them or just leave a comment expressing your opinion.

Here are some questions for you, the reader: 
1)What was your overall view of the book? Did you enjoy it?
2)Both April and Oliver grew up without their mothers.
3)How was this important to the story?
4)Did you have a favorite part in the book?
5)How did your opinion of Bernadette change throughout the book?
6)Both April and Oliver grew up without their mothers.
7)How was this important to the story?
8)Lastly, do you have any questions for the author? If yes, leave them here and I will send them to the author.

We do have a few blogger's reading along with us. If you have blogged about the book, please leave the link to your post!

The following is a recap in my own words:

Tess has thirteen year old twins and is busy juggling family, writing and is also a teacher. April and Oliver is her first novel which was published in 2009. She is working on a second novel.

Tess start writing April and Oliver several years ago, it started as a short story. She put it to the side for a time and completed in a few years later.

April and Oliver are both motherless in the book, we wanted to know if mothers were included in any draft: The mother’s were not in any draft of the novel. Oliver makes a life change when his mother dies during his senior year of high school. He decides not to follow his mothers wishes and gives up music, making the decision to study something practical (law). April’s mom could have had a physical presence in the novel but with April being responsible for raising her younger brother Tess realized that April was really alone in life.

Was Buddy alive in any draft? He was never alive in the book but is such an important character to the storyline. He is alive in a way, by memories.

Is April based on anyone you know? She wears a thick personal to cover her vulnerabilities and has a resemblance of a passing friend but is really a fictional character.

Did you start this book knowing the general plot or did you begin with by creating characters and follow their journey? Tess mentioned that she starts with characters, weaving their history into a story. She doesn’t know what will happen until the words are written. She expressed being as surprised as we were at times during the book!

Use of water is throughout the novel, do you have an affinity with water (which is also the books cover). Tess found this question very interesting, she likes to view water as our subconscious (its unspoken, echoes the forces) and expressed being pleased with the cover.

Bernadette (Oliver’s fiancĂ©): We wanted her to hold her ground and stand up for herself. Did Bernadette change from the beginning to the end of the writing process? She did transform quite a bit from the first draft to the final version. Bernadette thinks with logic and doesn’t view April as a threat. Over time she sees that Oliver is spending too much energy/time with April. We did wonder if they would get married and were a little shocked by the events on their wedding day.

Other highlights:
- We also discussed Nana and her resemblance to Tess’s grandmother. Tess’s grandmother also had a necklace that she wore daily.
- The story of the kiss in the diner is loosely based on a true events.
- Tess has completed the first draft of her next novel
- Tess teaches writing to middle school students and loves helping children discover the passion of writing
- She tries to write during the day, when her children are at school


  1. Thanks! I was so bummed that I couldn't listen because my daughter was sick. I really loved the book, and I wanted to hear what the author was saying.

  2. Thanks for the summary! I too am sad that I missed the call, but I will download it and listen to it. Here is my review of April & Oliver:

  3. I thought this book had interesting characters. April gave me some insight into women who stay in relationships with bad guys, that is all she knew and what she thought she deserved. Sad. Oliver's character was all over the map, the fact that he could never touch the piano again, never tell Bernadette about playing, his crazy reaction at the beach, then leaving and wandering Europe. I did really like the grandmother's role, the mother figure to both of them. So all and all in interesting read.


  4. I was disappointed I couldn't listen in too.. I tried, it was a bit later (20 minutes in or so to log into as guest) and it said it was connecting but never did :( There were some quote sin this book that struck me as being concise and so true like "Anyplace as long as it's unreasonable" and you "have to think about the purpose of honest." Both April & Oliver are flawed, "normal" human beings, April just wore her scars more outwardly. I really enjoyed this book...

  5. I wrote somethings down too! page 212-213 when Nana is talking to April: "no one is hopeless, not even you" and you need to start doing what's uncomfortable for you, April. Because your idea of what feels right took a left turn somewhere".

    I love these observations!

  6. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. In fact, I delayed reading the last chapter for about 4 days because I wasn't ready to let go of the characters. This is a book that I would have never chosen on my own.
    I usually read the happy go lucky romance novels. After reading the first chapter, I googled for reviews. I wanted to be sure that the book had received good reviews. I didn't want to commit to the book if it wasn't going to end somewhat on a good note.

    As for April, I felt overwhelmingly sorry for her. I felt like she was just spinning out of control, and that she truly didn't love or care about herself. She was just so self destructive. I was so happy that she was able to break the cycle. By the end of the novel, I felt that she was going to be better than ok.

    As for Oliver, I really disliked his character. I felt that he was just so self centered through most of the book. With that said, I did feel that him and April had an unbreakable bond. Throughout the story, I did feel that they were soul mates. Without each other, they were incomplete.

    I would have liked to see the Al & April relationship explored more during the book. I would have like to known more what he was thinking about April and her self destructiveness.

    The only part of the story that I did not enjoy was the reappearance of Quinn. I was so concerned for his girls. I really wish the author did not have him reappear in the story. It bothered me that he would show his face again to the family. I kept wondering his motive for showing up to the BBQ. Did he feel remorseful? Was he looking to exploit April again?

    As for Bernadette, I really enjoyed the transformation of her character throughout the story. I was glad to see her stand up for herself. She deserved better than Oliver.

    In the end, I wanted the April & Oliver to find their way back to each other. However, I wanted Oliver to be a better man for April.


  7. I found the book interesting. I wouldn't add it my favorite list but I did want to finish it to see how it ended.

    Oddly enough I identified more with April than any other character. I am not the type that would stay in an abusive relationship. The things that happened in her life as a young girl and teen seemed like a logical explanation to where she ended up as an adult. I didn't understand Oliver at all. I thought traveling through Europe at the end was something he probably should have done after high school. It seemed late to be finding himself and too early for a mid life crisis at the same time.

    I think being motherless is what really shaped both characters. Given April's dad's attitude I'm not sure things would have been different for April. She learned her behavior watching her mom & dad interact.

    I think my favorite part of the book was after April got the dog. The dog gave her a purpose rather than obsessing over her past. She really came out of her shell.

    Bernadette was hard to figure out. At first she seemed like the trophy wife - marrying the attorney for the status. When my husband was in law school I saw a lot of this. Once they had started to settle in to their new life she started to develop a back bone.

    Overall, the book wasn't bad. It was an easy read which was nice right after the holidays.

    Kim I.

  8. I enjoyed this book, in fact, I read it very quickly at the first of the year - like all New Year's Day - and almost forgot to log on to the discussion! I thought the story was really interesting, although I have to say at the beginning I was really expecting April and Oliver to find each other and have a happily ever after - wow was I wrong! Certainly the two of them growing up without mothers shaped who they were. They were each other's anchors, but even as teenagers their relationship was too intense. There was just something kind of weird about it. I think they both were pretty good at being one person on the outside and someone completely different on the inside. Bernadette seemed this way in the beginning, too, but then really grew into someone you liked - I wanted to cheer for her when she left Oliver. She did deserve something better. I thought April's story was so heartbreaking. I wondered if she was damaged beyond repair - she had been abused so much and her self-destructive behavior just kept the abuse going in a way. I found it so interesting that Oliver could bring her peace and chaos all in the same. I guess we've all got those people in our lives! Overall I thought it was a great story and certainly kept me turning the pages.