The Claremont Book Club must certainly be one of the oldest book groups in the nation: it has been in continuous existence for 90 years.
Every month, women who live within the gates of the
The group today holds on to some vestiges of its once-elite roots, but with a
The 44 members and 20 associates of the Claremont Book Group drink tea and coffee poured from sterling silver tea sets and eat heart healthy salads and lunch dishes, much like their forebears. But the house where I attended Thursday’s luncheon had an Obama sign prominently displayed on its front lawn, just like many of its neighboring homes. So while members of the book club may live in elegant houses reminiscent of another era, many of them are resolutely liberal.
I have heard about the Claremont Book Group for years, but since I don’t live within the gates of the
Orenstein and Brownrigg met years ago at a writing group and are now close friends. In a bizarre twist, they and other members of the group found they were writing about similar themes – maternal loss and grief. Orenstein joined the group after suffering numerous miscarriages and round after round of in vitro fertilization treatments. Brownrigg’s second child had been born prematurely and only lived an hour. Another member of the writing group was dealing with the loss of a child to SIDS. “We were all contending with age and grieving and changes of life,” Orenstein explained. “We wanted to break silences and address things people don’t talk about.”
Orenstein had been a successful journalist for years and had published two books before she began working on Waiting for Daisy. But she never felt like a true writer, she said, until she began writing in the first person about her own personal tragedies. She was in
Brownrigg, who is married to Sedge Thomson, the host of the radio show West Coast Live, grew up in