Mothers formed a semi-circle on teal-cushioned seats in the Greenbrier Middle School media center Jan. 25.
Their daughters sat on the floor around a short wooden table.
All were there for a meeting of the Mother Daughter Book Club, a group formed last school year as a bonding experience.
Many of those in attendance wore red T-shirts emblazoned with the club's name in white letters. On the back, the shirts read, "We read 'em and weep."
In keeping with the shirt's theme, Greenbrier Middle Media Specialist Toni Hyde opened the meeting by asking, "Who cried?"
The club is one that now has about 12 sets of mothers and daughters who meet monthly, usually at the school, to discuss books they recently read and to choose new books to discuss at the next meeting.
The most recent novel that club members had read, and were discussing at the meeting, was Hope Was Here, a story by Joan Bauer about a 16-year-old girl working with her mother at a Wisconsin restaurant owned by a man dying of leukemia.
Books with somber subject matters are a favorite among the women and girls.
"It seems like every book we read, I'm crying over it," Hyde said.
That doesn't bother Chandler LaFrance, a 12-year-old member of the club.
"I don't like happy endings," she said. "I want to cry when I finish a book."
Chandler joined the club at the beginning of the school year and kept returning, even after she transferred to Riverside Middle School.
"I love to read and I love to talk about reading," she said.
To the best of Hyde's knowledge, Greenbrier Middle is the only Columbia County school sponsoring a book club. She hopes other schools might follow Greenbrier Middle's example.
"I'd love to be able to have some joint meetings with other schools," she said.
In March, the women plan to read Bridge to Terabithia and meet to discuss the book after seeing a movie based on the novel.
Michelle and Morgan Benefield joined the club when it first began.
"My mom started working, so we didn't get to spend as much time together as we used to," said Morgan, a 13-year-old seventh-grader. "This is something we both like to do and could do together."
Even though the club is meant to promote a bonding experience through literature, girls will still be girls.
"I hated that movie," Chandler said, referring to an earlier trip the club took to see a movie based on a book they were reading. "But did you see the guy in it? He was really, really, really cute."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.