Can You Ever Forgive Me, Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel.

This book is different from anything we've read before, isn't it? And the story moves so quickly, it was hard to stop reading after just five chapters. 

What do you think about the story so far? Are you enjoying Israel's exploits, or are you finding it upsetting to read about her willingness to break the law? 

Lee Israel starts her forgery career by stealing some Fanny Brice letters. I'll be honest—I had no idea who Fanny Brice was. After doing a little research, I discovered that the musical Funny Girl is based on her life. This article from the Jewish Women's Archive has much more about her life. I found that it gave a little more context to the story when I knew more about why people would want some of Fanny's letters! 

Israel mentions that she stole letters from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Did you know the New York Public Library had such a specialized branch? It seems like a really cool place. Check out their website to see some of the special collections and archives they have in their building. If you could attend one of the upcoming events they have listed on their site, which one would you attend? I think I would attend a jazz program

Israel also mentions selling books to The Strand bookstore. Do you know anything about the Strand? The store's slogan says it contains 18 miles of books (although it's grown since it adopted the motto and now has 23 miles)! Can you imagine that? In addition to selling rare and collectible books, the store also sells books by the foot and will create ready-made libraries for customers. Would you be interested in buying one?  I think I would want to make sure that every title on my shelf is meaningful, but, I understand why decorators or people who do movie props might be interested in that service. 

Can you picture Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel? I think Melissa McCarthy is one of those actresses that can play any character. She really immerses herself in the look of a role. If you want to hear how McCarthy prepared to take on the character, check out the video below from CBS Sunday Morning

I hope you're excited to read chapters 6–10 for next week. Please make sure to let me know all of your thoughts and opinions in the comments section. I'm really interested to hear your initial thoughts of the book!

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