The Readers Book Club began their year with The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J. Ryan Stradal. The book received high ratings on Goodreads and Amazon (4.01 and 4.3, respectively), but The Readers disagreed and only rated the book a whopping 2.25 stars out of 5.
The Lager Queen of Minnesota follows the lives of two sisters, Helen and Edith, who have been estranged for the better part of their lives. Edith, the older of the two, is the quintessential grandma, raising her only granddaughter, Diana. Helen, on the other hand, had few likable characteristics throughout the entire story. The group found the book long and tedious, with all of its detailed descriptions of brewing. They also felt that too many characters were introduced, leaving the group not really caring about most of them. Many of the plotlines were irrelevant and the ending left the readers with a feeling of "That was it?"
There were some positives in The Lager Queen of Minnesota, however. For example, Edith and Diana are fantastic characters who would make for good neighbors, and the way they continue to persevere through life's ups and downs is admirable. Edith makes a lot of friends during her many hard-working years, and they all come through for her in the end. The book did make for a fun discussion, though, and one of the points of a book discussion is to read outside of one's comfort zone. The Readers are chalking the whole experience up to a win!